Imagine a film that aspires to be as good as Lesbian Vampire Killers, and actually fails. That is Love Bite a titanically embarrassing British comedy horror farrago from West is West director Andy De Emmony.
Set in a run down seaside town in NOT SCOTLAND, shy but handsome Jamie (Eragon’s Ed Speelers, the poor man’s Alex Pettyfer even before Magic Mike) and his three frankly revolting mates barrel around town, hilariously poking fried sausages out of their flies, squirting ketchup into each other’s mouths, and randomly abusing disinterested females.
However, as is established in a bog-standard Scandinavian-girls-in-a-tent pre-credits sequence of the type sent up in Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers there is a hairy menace of the lycanthropic variety with a taste for virgin blood stalking the area (to remind you, that would be NOT SCOTLAND).
The arrival of Juliana, a sassy American girl, and Sid, a grizzled werewolf hunter, at the filthy hotel owned by Jamie’s slapper mum (a hideously wasted Kierston Wareing) complicates matters. Jamie is attracted to the sexy yank, but Sid warns him she is the suspected creature of the night he has tracked across Europe.
This is truly miserable stuff. A horror comedy that following its opening forgets to include any horror material of any kind until the last 10 minutes. Instead it tries to be The Inbetweeners, but unlike the bawdy sitcom featuring teenage characters audiences of all ages can empathise with, Love Bite’s teen protagonists have all the charm of a squashed badger on a country B road somewhere in the wilds of NOT SCOTLAND. They really are a prize collection of twazocks, and from about seven minutes in I was praying I would see them disembowelled by a monster that would then slowly chew their kidneys in front of their parents.
Sadly I was denied.
Speelers is completely miscast. His bland blond model looks totally at odds to the awkward virgin he is supposed to be playing. Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr approaches her role as the female lead like David Bowie advertising Japanese underwear, secure in the knowledge that it will result in an easy payday that won’t be noticed by anyone at CAA. Her sudden appearance and nationality are explained away because she is writing ‘a travel blog’ (‘kill me now’ was my precise thought at this revelation). As Sid, the seriously slumming Tim Spall does little more than accumulate bad karma later to result in his failing to gain a BAFTA nomination for Mr Turner. Spall is really phoning it in here, clearly collecting a pay check not large enough to justify having to deliver lines like ‘I had balls the size of coconuts’.
Director De Emmony appears to have no gift for comedy, action, suspense or horror. He has clearly been watching a lot of MTV and Skins however, wheeling out pointless overdone shots like the freeze-frame-and-sudden-whip-pan…
…or having Speelers sit motionless while a party goes on in super fast motion around him…
…or twirling the camera around 360 degrees as Speelers spends a day in his bedroom…
Never seen that before!
The problem with this film is summed up by a passing piece of sound design, another cliché I’ve heard a million times before, but one which really drove home how useless
is. During a coitus scene, the couple are interrupted. How is this emphasised? By having non-diagetic romantic music interrupted by the sound of a non-diagetic needle being scrapped over a non-diagetic piece of vinyl.
Secondly this is a film about and aimed at teenagers who won’t even know what that sound is (unless they are Vice Magazine readers, in which case they won’t be watching this embarrassing crap. No. Not even ironically). The reason The Inbetweeners is so funny and excruciating is that it is directed by people who can remember what it actually was like to be a teenager.
At the end there is a CGI werewolf of particular rubbishness, and… well I gave up and put on Dog Soldiers instead.
A final indignity, the film opens with a big Creative Scotland logo, and is shot in SCOTLAND. However the film is set as I may have mentioned in NOT SCOTLAND and all the characters are English with a variety of accents from across the counties.
Sorry to be all “FREEEEEEEDOM!!!” and “A COUNTRY OAF MA OAN” here but if you are going to shoot in Scotland and use money from Scottish funding agencies is it too much to ask that it be, I dunno, a little bit SCOTTISH?
I guess this is what it’s like to be Canadian.
This is a slightly amended version of a review that originally appeared on the late lamented Chris and Phil Presents website.