You may not have guessed this, but I enjoy a good body horror movie from time to time. Or a bad one, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that when Bite premiered at Fantasia Film Festival, barf bags were handed out. They got used, too. Apparently people don’t like the sight of a woman pus-vomiting bug eggs. I don’t understand why, it seems perfectly normal to me.
The movie is about a young woman named Casey going on a bachelorette trip to Costa Rica, where a bug bites her. When she returns home to her fiance, the bite gets infected and steadily becomes worse, until she mutates into a pseudo-insectoid capable of spitting acid, oozing blue fluid out of her palms, super-hearing, and doing a sonic scream that makes people vomit from afar. Also, she gets a vomit-inducing tail stinger. There is a lot of vomiting in this movie. Anyway, the young wannabe Wasp Woman ends up doing terrible things to her hateful soon-to-be mother-in-law, her best friend, her frenemy, and eventually her fiancee. In the end, a gooey curb-stomping is in order. Good times.
Body horror is generally about the subtext, be it fear of disease, particularly STDs, aging, sexuality, or in this case, the prospect of motherhood. Yep, our leading lady is scared of becoming a mom, so guess who gets to spawn millions of six-legged critters? There is a sexual component, of course (there has to be when procreation is involved), and this is offered up as a potential STD spread to the fiance after Casey was pretty much raped on her trip. She later has sex with her fiance, and things spread, though while I’ll go into this later, this isn’t nearly as important as what happens to him in the end, where the birthing gets reversed thanks to mommy’s tail whip. You can probably guess where this is going, but let’s just say that daddy does an impersonation of a sea horse.
While there are moments in these kinds of movies that bother me, particularly when fingernails are involved (and yes, there is a fingernail scene in this film, though it’s already so gooey that it just seems old hat), but the part that gets me the most is the fiance urinating blood. He then goes and has sex. As much as I should probably be ashamed to say it in a movie about a mutating bug mom, the guy having sex after peeing blood was where I lost my sense of realism. On a terrible personal note, this has happened to me, and the last thing I wanted to do was fornicate. Curl into a ball and wonder what the hell was wrong with my junk, sure, but definitely not any sexing.
I liked the movie, but it’s because I enjoyed the effects, which appeared to be at least 95% practical, with the only questionable area being the stinger tail in some scenes. I love practical effects, and Bite delivers here. The beginning of the film unfortunately starts with a found footage segment that I wasn’t into, but by about 30 minutes in, things are going well, and at the halfway mark, I had found solid gold. Sure, the story of the relationship is bland, with perhaps the fiance’s mom being the most ridiculous part, but I wasn’t watching this for plot and characterization. I was watching this for larvae puke. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got.
Oh, and the body count for this movie is 2. Not in the film; that’s how many folks fainted at the Fantasia Film Festival. Nice job, Bite.