Now, it might just be me, but when I hear about an insect-based horror film [very niche genre right?], I immediately think, ‘The Fly’, namely Cronenberg’s 1986 horror / sci-fi romance remake about a scientist who becomes a weird hybrid man-fly after one of his experiments goes awry. It’s a cult classic, and with taglines like ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid’ and ‘Something went wrong in the lab today. Very wrong’, how could anyone possibly resist?

So, indeed, Cronenberg’s man-fly entered my mind as soon as I heard about Chad Archibald’s indie horror starring Elma Begovic, Annette Wozniak, and Jordan Gray, named quite simply, ‘Bite’.

Of course thoughts of the ‘The Fly’ alongside this new bug bite fiasco is no bad thing – cult classic, sci-fi, great costume/special effects are all on The Fly’s side, but, simultaneously it immediately reminded me that these types of films are hard to make scary. I’m not a fan of wasps, spiders are a little creepy and we all know getting bitten by invisible mozzies in the beer garden is a bloody nightmare, but do they frighten me? Does it make my blood run cold? No, not really.

Instead, films like this always become a bit of a lol-fest which can swiftly become a snooze-fest if the audience aren’t kept captivated by the happenings on screen.

Unfortunately, that really is the case throughout Archibald’s Frightfest offering, ‘Bite’.

To summarise, while on her bachelorette party getaway in Costa Rica, Casey, the bride to be, gets a seemingly harmless bite from an unknown insect in the clear waters of a hidden away alcove of paradisiacal beaches. After returning home with cold feet about marrying workaholic Jarrett, Casey tries to call off her wedding but before she’s able to, she starts exhibiting insect like traits. Casey succumbs to her new instincts and begins creating a hive that not only houses her translucent eggs, but feeds on the flesh of others.

I think part of the problem with keeping my attention with this film was, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Even with just the title and a vague reference to bugs and horror, anyone could surmise that it would feature a poor protagonist getting bitten and slowly recognising their oozy, mucus-filled, twitchy fate before suffering the ultimate consequence of getting squished for wreaking havoc on their unsuspecting victims. It really does what it says on the tin, but the lack of surprise left me feeling a little bored and to make it worse ‘Bite’ was a little slow paced. I was just waiting for the dramatic ending, which luckily, was reasonably satisfying.

Casey’s transformation from brunette babe to mucus filled larvae spouting bug-lady was impressive, her performance and the make-up were a winning combination. Some genuine gross out moments for those who love puss and guts too. I also really enjoyed the repeated cheesy one liner of, “It’s just a little bug bite!” followed by a nervous smile from a few of the characters. Small nods to the audience are always great in horrors with a little comedy.

I’d love to tie in the sub-plots, such as Casey’s positive pregnancy test, the fact that she may or may not have cheated and passed an STI onto Jarrett or even her anxieties about marriage being some kind of hidden allegory or commentary about ruined women / the dangers of sexual promiscuity or even a side swipe at how marriage turns people into irritating gnats – thankfully, I quickly realised I was looking far too deeply into ‘Bite’ and as I said before, it pretty much just does what it says on the tin.

Some audiences may find it a bit gross, but that’s to be expected of a body horror. It’s watchable but, ultimately forgettable.

Frightfest London review: Bite
2.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.