“A different kind of REPULSION”
Chad Archibald’s squishy subtextual horror picture, which received its premiere at London Frightfest last year in front of a sell-out crowd (I know because I was there), gets a UK DVD release from Second Sight.
Casey (Elma Bergovic) is about to get married. For her bachelorette party she travels with her two best friends to a resort ‘down south’ for sun, sea and booze. While there, as well as dancing, getting trashed and managing to lose most of her stuff (including her diamond engagement ring), Casey takes a dip in a natural pool and gets bitten on the bottom by something other than one of the local boys.
It’s when she gets back to her flat where both her fiance Jared (Jordan Gray) and his domineering mother live that the problems start. Although to be honest, Casey’s personal problems are actually already in full swing. She’s getting married in a week and she’s really not sure she wants to be. Jared wants kids and she doesn’t. Jared’s mother has forbidden him to have sex with her before marriage and he’s actually complied (always a worrying sign). Then to top it all, Casey starts to turn into an egg-laying insect monster thing.
Despite how I might have just sold it, BITE is not a comedy. Reviews have likened it to a Cronenberg picture, which it is on a superficial level (body horror, Casey vomits liquid that dissolves flesh) but in actual fact the movie’s style has far more in common with early Polanski. Early on Casey ends up trapped in her flat as her transformation begins, her change quite possibly instigated not so much by a tropical insect bite but rather by the social pressures that have culminated in her no longer being able to cope with the future life she is being forced into by those around her. As those social pressures intrude on her new life, she kills them.
For much of BITE‘s running time I was expecting the film to reveal that the gloopy, slimy, egg-covered nightmare that Casey’s flat becomes was actually all in her head. The ending scuppers that idea, but I just wonder if that’s what writer-director Chad Archibald was aiming for - a character study of a woman pressured by society to adopt the traditional roles she isn’t yet ready for and indeed may never be, and the horror that ensues when it becomes obvious that’s not going to happen. In this way, BITE is more art house than exploitation horror, and as such is definitely worthy of attention.
Second Sight’s DVD has no extras (boo!) apart from two sound options. A director’s commentary for this one would have been very much appreciated.
BITE is out from Second Sight on UK DVD on
Monday 10th October 2016
Monday 10th October 2016