Bite (Blu-ray Review)

BiteWhen a young woman returns from her tropical bachelorette party getaway, she begins to succumb to an insect bite in the palpably disturbing film Bite. The skin-crawling chronicle of one woman’s truly terrifying descent into madness makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut August 2nd, 2016 from Scream Factory.  Directed by Chad Archibald (The Drownsman), Bite had a sensational premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, where it won an Audience Award, before sinking its teeth into audiences during its theatrical run earlier this year. This visceral body-horror feature also includes an audio commentary track from writer/director/producer Chad Archibald, as well as five behind-the-scenes documentary shorts about the special effects makeup, creating the set, and more! Fans can order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  Starring Elma Begovic, Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen, Jordan Gray, Lawrene Denkers, Barry Birnberg, Daniel Klimitz, Tianna Nori, and  Caroline Palmer. Bite is directed by Chad Archibald and produced by Black Fawn Films.

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While on her bachelorette party getaway, Casey, the bride to be, gets a seemingly harmless bite from an unknown insect. After returning home with cold feet, Casey tries to call off her wedding but before she’s able to, she starts exhibiting insect like traits. Between her physical transformation and her wedding anxiety, 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. As her transformation becomes complete, Casey discovers that everything can change with a single bite.

Bite played a nice little trick on me and probably many others than I hadn’t seen since [rec] 3.  The film starts off as if its going to be the next hot independent found footage horror film of the week.  Turns out, its only the intro to the movie.  And what an effective way to get some attention and have someone invested.  Following the title, the film has a traditionally told and shot narrative.

If you are a make-up and practical effects lover, then Bite is going to win you over and then some.  The film is a modern body-horror classic in its own unique kind of way.  Its one that is a big fan of the works of David Cronenberg while also trying to do its own spin on things.  The film’s sound and make-up work is effective enough that you’ll feel the need to take a bath afterward.  And much respect needs to be given to Elma Begovic, the film’s lead, who had to have endured one hell of a shoot as she is taken through the wringer in terms of graphic gore effects and makeup.

Overall, the film’s narrative is a bit too heavy handed and “yeah, we get it” in terms of its play on the old morality tale.  Luckily the film makers knew to make the thing short as all the budget is going to some good effects work, they also don’t have much in terms of shooting location.  Bite is mostly a 1-room experience.  The only times it really ventures out is during the found footage pieces in the beginning.  However, the 1-room does become a rather grisly and cool looking set as the film passes over time.  It is sort of slow, but does pace itself with slow reveals of transformation and grotesque body horror escalation.

Bite is the kind of horror film we haven’t received a whole lot of (Maybe more in a commercial sense) since the 1980s.  That was back when practical effects were being experiments with and really being tested of their visual limits.  We had movies back then just to showcase effects with really not much of a story.  Bite does have a story, but a lot of that is moved and told with visuals.  If you like gross-out and body horror, Bite might be right up your alley to rent for an evening.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  Bite comes to Blu-ray with a very solid looking picture.  The film is intentionally a dark and ugly looking one and this transfer captures that.  The film has some found footage style portions to open it and those bring the most vivid and rich experience of the film.  However, the rest of it isn’t bad, its just by intention.  There is some good shadow work done in parts here as well.  Overall, this is very good.

Depth:  Dimensional is overall decent and above average.  Interiors, that make up most of the film, give solid clarity to background images paired with the foreground.  Movements lean between natural and cinematic look and are smooth.

Black Levels:  Overall, a film that takes place in pretty dark interiors, it manages to have some solid work on blacks.  Detail is minimally lost in a lot of the dark scenes with objects, hair and surfaces.  Overall, a nice deep look to it.

Color Reproduction:  The tropical portions of the film provide a beautiful and vivid appearance.  For the most part though, the film carries in this sort of dumpy look, but its still full of bold and rich coloring, just in the more yellows and natural looking aspects.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones carry both a natural look and this sort of colder look to them.  The natural in in the found footage portions of the film while the regular narrative pulls the cooler look.  Facial details are quite exceptional, especially with our protagonist’s facial defects that build throughout the film.  Medium and closeups provide the best look at stubble, wrinkles, make-up, lip texture and everything else.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Bite comes to Blu-ray with a goopy and gross (in a good way!!!) 5.1 mix.  Sound effects are this baby’s bread and butter and they are quite amusing.  Foley work is well rounded, rich and just soooo damn gag-inducing with the slopping sludging of what goes on in the film.  The score jumps to the front of everything a bit and is quite loud in the mix by design.  Everything is balanced very well, though, and never jumps on the others toes at any instant.

Low Frequency Extension:  Mostly the subwoofer is used to enhance musical hits.  There are some “attacks” in the film that bolster some more rumble.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is a more front heavy track, but rear speakers are given some solid ambient work as well as picking up some of the score.  Front speakers provide good volume placement and movement accuracy.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp with perfect clarity.

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Audio Commentary

  • With Director Chad Archibald and Producers Cody Calahan and Christopher Giroux

Makeup (HD, 5:42) – The director, producer and a few cast members discuss the process of Elma Begovic’s transformation as well as some of the other effects with behind the scenes footage mixed in.

On Set (HD, 6:02) – Director, producers, production designer and cast go over building the apartment set of the film and then messing it up.

Fantasia (HD, 5:53) – A discussion of the premiere of the film at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

Chad’s Wedding (HD, 5:16) – This goes over the director getting married in Spain on top of a mountain before their second festival appearance.

Dominican (HD, 5:30) – Everyone goes over the “work-cation” of filming in the Dominican Republic (as opposed to the rest being done in Canada) for the opening sequence of the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:23) 

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With the utmost compliments, Bite is some really gruesome and disgusting shit.  The film features impressive make-up and gore effects in a modern body horror tale.  Presented with some very good visuals and top notch audio, this Blu-ray has a rock solid performance.  There are some fluffy extras here paired with a nice commentary track.  Fans of the film should be pleased with the release.  Those curious should at least check the film out before a purchase.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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