Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fantasia 2015 Film Review - Bite

Casey (Elma Begovic) is a couple of weeks away from getting married and away at her bachelorette party in Costa Rica with best friends Kristen (Denise Yeun) and Jill (Annette Wozinak). You would except that this would be a happy occasion but it's not for Casey. She loves her fiancé Jared (Jordan Gray) but is not ready for marriage. While on vacation she gets carried away partying and makes some poor decisions. The girls also find of a hidden natural swimming hole where Casey is bit by an unseen insect.

Upon returning home our protagonist begins to feel sick plus she has to deal with all of the final  wedding plans and being belittled by her future mother-in-law (Laurene Denkers). She develops a large blistering infected bite on her right hip and puncture marks on the right side of her neck. Casey also becomes turned off by food unable to keep anything down. The transformation really begins to take place shortly after she discovers that she's pregnant. After coming too in the bathtub following a disturbing dream she survey's the apartment to find piles of small gel like dripping eggs. A quick look in the mirror reveals sores on both temples and a change in the texture of her skin.

The film is the vision of the director Chad Archibald who also shares a writing credit with Jayme Laforest. The spark originated from a conversation with a friend that had recent returned from a trip covered in bites of different shapes and sizes not likely knowing what caused each bite.  The director also knew how he wanted Casey to move physically after the transformation and how he wanted her gooey, sticky apartment turned nest to look on screen.

Elma Begovic plays a physically engrossing character in her feature film debut. Her performance picks up steam when she attempts to treat the bite herself by pressing on it causing it to rip and ooze then frantically trying to scratch at it. As her transformation continues she moves on to white liquid and eggs dripping from her mouth ending as a crouched neck twitching human reptilian hybrid.

The set design and make up teams both contribute greatly to the production. The dripping slime filled nest is so realistic that the viewer can almost smell the oder that illicit's a gag reflex for anyone who enters the apartment. Amanda Wood and Jason Derushie make up effects work to transform Casey into a frightening presence especially their work on her eyes, skin tone and facial prosthetics.

Bite is a film that takes a different angle on the horror transformation formula. The process stops at an early enough point to allow the protagonist to keep a humanoid form and mental abilities. Allowing the story to explore how she reacts differently to friends as opposed to foes and betrayers. The narrative has more meat that expected for films of this ilk making it a film that I can recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4

Bite | Chad Archibald | Canada | 2015 | 90 Minutes.

Tags: Wedding, Bachelorette Party, Costa Rica, Cold Feet, Insect, Bite, Infected, Transformation, Pregnancy, Nest.

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