* out of four
It appears that the makers of the “body horror” opus Bite are huge fans of David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly, which is one of those rare remakes that tops the original. However, the major elements that make The Fly work – an intelligent script, wit, imaginative creature effects, clear and assured direction and charismatic lead performances – are all, unfortunately, absent here.
During a bachelorette getaway before her impending nuptials, Casey (Elma Begovic) gets bitten by an unknown insect. Not only does Casey return home a few days later with cold feet, but also with a gnarly insect bite that is infected...and growing. Before long, a physical metamorphosis kicks in much to the surprise and shock of her gal pals (Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen), her witchy mother-in-law to be (Lawrene Denkers) and her charmless fiancé (Jordan Gray).
The practical effects are appropriately disgusting, but they are repetitive. More than once we get to witness Casey vomiting up clear, thick goop, and several times we get to cherish the sight of creamy pus squirting out of the sore on her leg. The movie itself is repetitive because the script, by Jayme Laforest from a story by director Chad Archibald, blows its load far too early. There is no mystery, and after about 20-minutes we know exactly what's going on – Casey doesn't want to get married and is turning into a flesh-eating insect – and after that, the story really has no place to go. But wait! Thanks to some awesome found footage of their trip, we see that Casey's BFF allowed her to get drunk, raped then rolled, thus giving the bride-to-be cause for murder, but this revelation feels like a late minute addition to the script.
The characters are unappealing, but the bigger problem is that the performances are uniformly lousy. So bad is the acting that the reactions – or lack of reactions – from the characters to the fact that the interior of Casey's apartment has transformed into a slimy hive are unintentionally laugh-out-loud hilarious.
It takes more than oozy grossness to make a successful horror movie.
Bite is now available on VOD.