BITE (2023) Reviewed by Steve Kirkham

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BITE (2023)

3 stars
Bulldog Film Distribution. Digital HD. 30th October

Nina (Shiah Denoven) has clearly been left on the roadside in the pouring rain – bedraggled, she manages to flag down a little old lady, Beryl (Annabelle Lanyon), who gives her a lift and kindly offers a room for the night.

2 hours earlier… we discover Nina is mixed up with illegal activities, trying to rip off a criminal gang who are running sleazy, clandestine dog fights. As violence breaks out, she and her girlfriend Yaz (Nandi Nsue) barely get away with their lives. When Nina has the temerity to suggest they go straight she finds herself dumped and getting soaked.

Empty nester Beryl, who claims to live alone, immediately seems a bit odd – lamenting the fact her two grown-up boys no longer live at home. “I’ve always wanted a lodger”, she declares. Which is the point where you shout at the screen “Get out of there!” Next morning, Nina is surprised to find Beryl conversing with Gerald (Stuart Sessions) and overhears mention of a large amount of money.

Managing to ‘escape’, she returns to the arms of her girlfriend, and they kiss and make-up. A phone call then panics them – as the gang are out for blood and after them.

“One last job”, Yaz suggests – return to Beryl’s and find the dosh. You just know it’s going to be a big mistake, especially with a title like Bite – you can probably figure out where this is heading.

Denoven is good in the lead, Lanyon as Beryl is nicely quirky and Sessions suitably overplays as Gerald.

With shades of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in the second half, plus movies like Pete Walker’s House of Whipcord where justice is meted out, but not in the traditional manner, and those handing it out are just as morally questionable as their victims. Gritty and grisly, it’s interesting to note director James Owen (who co-wrote with Tom Critch) is a trained trauma surgeon – this is his feature length directing debut.

Playing like an exploitation movie from the 70s, this has a gallery of reprehensible characters, chucks in a touch of Guy Ritchie and has some notable practical effects work. It takes its time getting going and at times reveals its low budget. However, despite it being derivative, it manages to keep the interest.

Steve Kirkham