Bite (2009)
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Bite (2009)

As much as I dislike the purely visceral gore fest that dominates such a substantial portion of the horror genre, I find that is no way to escape it. The films are released continuously in a significant number of forwarded to me for review. The main problem I have with this type of film is that the impetus for the story is relegated almost completely to the special effects coordinator rather than the screenwriter. The purpose of the script for these movies is more than to provide a scaffold upon which to hang the numerous scenes depicting increasingly vicious and imaginative ways of inflicting suffering and eventually death on the hapless victims. There is one glimmer of hope that some filmmakers are embracing the retro standards of the classic horror movies, returning to the psychological terror covers the very foundation of those classic movies that are youth. Fortunately, there are some burgeoning horror directors were trying to establish a middle ground, placing their protagonists in exceptionally gruesome circumstances that allowing the story to explore the psychological damage and emotional turmoil such circumstances inevitably inflict. An example that I came across some time ago is a movie from our neighbor to the north Canada called ‘Bite.'

Admittedly, this is another in a long line of movies based on one of the oldest fears that are criminally taken up residence in the most primitive parts of our mind, contagion. Facing off against some bloodthirsty monster or a person pushed beyond all sense and reason that a ballistic killing machine remains. When the stories bogeyman is some virus or bacteria, far too small to see with the naked eye, there is a strong primeval fear that allows that most ancient part of our mind overwhelm our highest sense of reason entirely. Your fight or flight reflexes have been a part of our psychological composition long as humanity has existed. You can turn and fight the beast will run and hide. Either way, the threat is tangible, something with a discernible shape and form looming before you. Just on psychologically equipped to deal with a deadly menace that is so small that it can be carried on the air we breathe, a sharp object that might scratch our skin will launch the deadly attack just by our being close to it.

Casey (Elma Begovic) had been looking forward to flying to Costa Rica with her friends to celebrate her impending nuptials. The opening scenes are depicting typical bachelorette party, particularly as usually portrayed in the movies. Along with her friend Jill (Annette Wozniak) Kirsten (Denise Yuen), they raise little time in diving into the revelry. At the local bar, the procedure consumes copious quantities of alcohol including a local favorite, piña coladas. Typical of the somewhat accepted as such a party what happens during the bachelorette party stays there and is not for a home to the waiting groom. Casey flirts with several young men, and later one of them tells them about a place to swim that is exceptionally beautiful, more so than any spot they have ever imagined. He is reluctant to give out the information, but with a little use of her feminine wiles, Jill manages to get a map from the young man. Considering they are still imbibing heavily with alcohol 's incredible that they can decipher the crew map well enough actually to find a spot. We still continuing to record the events Casey and Kirsten wade in to enjoy the isolated beauty of the water. Casey notices some things glistening but upon closer inspection appears to be something like gelatinous eggs of some aquatic creature. Just then Casey is startled is something beneath the water bites her. This is a minor distraction to the three young women continues on the afternoon of fun. Later on back in the hotel room Casey takes a bath and notices some redness around the site of the bite. But thinking much about it, she continues to her evening with Jill and Kirsten. Part of the conversation between Casey and Kirsten concerns something important Casey has withheld from her fiancé Jared (Jordan Gray), he is looking forward to immediately starting a family while Casey doesn’t want to have children at all. The filmmaker did not allow this device to sit on the back burner. As soon as she comes home their apartment, Jared is anxious to show her something he just acquired, rummaging through his mother’s storage unit Jared found a wooden highchair that had once belonged to his father and before that his grandfather. Even found somebody would be able to restore it as an antique. It is evident that Casey is choking back real feelings to avoid confronting her fiancé.

Later that night during her bath she notices that her body covered with sores and bruises that are apparently becoming more prevalent. Casey tries her best to minimize her concern, mostly because she is emotionally close to being overwhelmed by the preparations for the impending wedding. I do have to give credit to the filmmaker, Chad Archibald, exhibiting more than a modicum of restraint. He is still new to this form of entertainment that only a couple of projects currently on his list of credits. When the story calls for a very attractive young woman to examine her body in the bath looking for bites and bruises, a director of puerile salacious concerns would certainly include some slow panning shots over the naked body. Mr. Archibald revealed just enough skin to establish the growing lesions omitting anything that could be construed as gratuitous titillation. Plot contrivances such as this evidently a mandatory part of slasher flicks for the duration of the influence on the genre. Eschewing resorting to its use increases my level respect for this burgeoning filmmaker. Greater attention is given to character development. An example can be found directly after the bath while Casey is modestly wrapped in a towel on the phone with Kristen. Continuing the conversation in the water Kristen questions Casey’s commitment to marrying Jared. The bride to hesitant in responding to her friend but it is evident to the audience that this young woman should postpone her walk down the aisle.

The audience knows that a transformation is imminent, under such circumstance the onus falls to the filmmaker to ensure the journey to that pre-established destination as thrilling and terrifying as possible. In keeping with what I sincerely hope remains an important aspect of Mr. Chad Archibald directorial style, he carefully plots the revelation everyone knows is forthcoming at a natural pace allowing a sufficient opportunity for the scope of the terror to infuse into the mind of the viewer. As Casey prepares for her long overdue evening with Jared, we get glimpses of the festering sores and lesions appearing on her flesh. As the couple beginning to have sex, the already established chaste approach to filming is maintained. Rarely have I seen a relatively new director of a film intentionally reliant on gruesome infection so diligently committed to avoiding pandering to the use of gratuitous nudity as exhibited here. He proves that even a graphically bloody story can be revealed without depending on such puerile contrivances. As Casey begins her transformation into a large and revolting humanoid insect, the distinct feeling that a cohesive narrative is unfolding is never lost. Jared’s introduction to the malady occur during sex, he in his briefs, she in bra and panties, when in the midst of the throws of passion he hands slides over her waist an open sore oozes a gelatinous passion him. By the time the third act begins the audiences is already quite bonded to Casey in an intensely emotional fashion. The film succeeds on this level because we were with her during the progression of the infection.

bulletAudio Commentary From Writer/Director/Producer Chad Archibald
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Posted 02/23/2017

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