Does Bite pack a sting? A look at the 2015 body horror film


Bite, a film by Chad Archibald, is about a lady bitten by a bug at a bachelorette party, and her transformation into an insect.

Bite on the surface, could be summed up in that one quick sentence. Hell, it sort of can be. However, there are some finer notes to this 2015 film. Any movie where a character literally transforms is open to interpretation.

One may find instant parallels between this film and Kafka’s classic story, Metamorphosis.  In fact, that may very well be an intended aspect of this story line, as it sees a woman transformed into an insectoid creature. You’ll likely wonder what;’s going on with Elma Begovic’s character, Casey, as the movie progresses.

Understandably, Bite has also been compared to some of David Cronenberg’s weirdest work: Rabid, Shivers and The Fly. It’s even claimed that some people fainted or even vomited during Bite‘s premiere.

So, how hardcore is Bite in the gross-out department?  Honestly, I don’t recall wincing even once. Then again, I’m not new to this kind of film.

Regarding the actual quality of the film, I’d give Bite about a 54% out of 100 (which is better than it’s Rotten Tomatoes score of 43%). Obviously this film didn’t get any Oscar buzz, but it’s reasonably well done.  At no point do I recall thinking the special effects were pathetic, or anything like that (though some movies are better by looking fake anyway).

The Performances

Except for Silence of the Lambs level stuff, nearly every horror movie is accused of bad acting. I’m sure many would apply that same critique here. Nevertheless, like with many other criticized films, I thought the acting was fine in Bite.

Granted, most of the characters are indeed forgettable, but that may have been to focus on Elma Begovic’s main performance.  Anyway, here are a few additional cast members: Annette Wozniak as Jill, Denise Yuen as Kirsten, Jordan Gray as Jared, and a few others.

Good luck trying to remember which character belongs to which name, though. I would have struggled with that issue, had I really been invested in it. In addition to some “new-character introduction” fatigue, I found myself  tuning out during the non-monster scenes.

Normally I’m ashamed by that, because it means I’m not doing my job as a viewer. However, it really is one of those movies where you could go away for 5 minutes, come back and probably not miss anything groundbreaking. By a certain point you have a good idea of what you’re in for, and even what won’t happen.

You know the movie’s unlikely to have a happy ending. You know things are just going to get crazier, as the lady gets buggier (honestly, I might have called the movie Buggin‘ and stuffed it full of groan-inducing humor).

Anyway, it probably sounds like I dislike Bite, but I don’t. It just didn’t rope me in, so to speak…or maybe I should say, it just didn’t wrap me in its cocoon, or in its web, or whatever creepy-crawly analogy you wish to use.  I may give this movie another chance some day, and maybe it’ll grow on me.

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After all, we can’t just rely on good ol’ David Cronenberg for our body horror. Perhaps you could enjoy this movie as part of a “bug” movie marathon, or films about bodily transformation.  It definitely has its place.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to work on my screenplay for Buggin.’

Have you seen Bite? Did it leave a mark on you? Let us know in the comments!