11th Feb2015

‘Chastity Bites’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Allison Scagliotti, Francia Raisa, Louise Griffiths, Eduardo Rioseco, Chloë Crampton, Amy Okuda, Sarah Stouffer, Lindsey Morgan, Laura Niemi, Diana Chiritescu | Written by Lotti Pharriss Knowles | Directed by John V. Knowles

CHASTITY-BITES-DVD

Chasity Bites is a film that has been on my radar for quite some time; ever since I saw the awesome poster designed by Rebel Rouser artist and illustrator Nathan Thomas Milliner for the films screening at the Dances With Films festival way back in June 2013. Of course it’s been over 18 months since then and all has gone quite… Or so I thought. Thankfully independent UK distributors Safecracker Pictures have seen fit to debut the film – on VOD, followed by a DVD release in a couple of months – here in Blighty.

First off, having finally sat down and watched the film, can someone tell me why I never realised it starred one of my favourite actresses, Alison Scagliotti, in the lead role? Total “d’oh” moment for me right there folks! You can pretty much guarantee that anything Scagliotti turns her hand to will be a success, mainly due to her charming on-screen persona, and that goes tenfold for Chastity Bites.

Chasity Bites sees Scagliotti star as Leah, a feminist blogger and aspiring investigative journalist, who is looking for a big story that will land her a college scholarship. Having had no success and a hundreds of rejections for her less-than-exciting freelance stories, she finally finds the story to catapult her career forward when an abstinence educator named Liz Batho arrives at Leah’s high school and forms the “Virginity Action Group” – a.k.a. “V.A.G.” – that promotes chastity through “vagina awareness”. You see, the thing is Liz Batho turns out to be Countess Elizabeth Bathory!

Yes, the same Countess who killed hundreds of girls in the 1600s and bathed in their virgin blood to retain her youthful good looks; and nothing has changed… Ms. Batho’s new scheme is to get as many young school girls as possible to join V.A.G., thus allowing her access to an endless supply of virgins to slaughter. And the only one who can stop her is Leah – even if it does cost her her virginity.

Chastity Bites is the kind of film that is hard to pigeon-hole (just look at the UK artwork compared to the US art – they look like two different movies), which is probably why the film has taken so long to reach these shores. But here it is – and its a credit to folks like Safecracker that they’ve even taken a chance at a small, low-budget, not-well-marketed film. The film might not appeal to everyone but it’s a definite hit with me!

Why? Well there’s a distinctly snarky streak running through Chastity Bites, in a very similar vein to that found in Heathers and Mean Girls, for those are essentially the closest cousins of that film – much moreso than the Waters brothers most recent film Vampire Academy, a film which really I liked but could have seriously done with more of the black humour and snarky tone found here. It’s that sensibility which makes the film work. Well that and the fact director John V. Knowles has seemingly asked actresses Allison Scagliotti and Amy Okuda to channel elements of their Warehouse 13 and The Guild characters respectively – a sure-fire way to appeal to fans (including me) of both performers and their shows.

This is near-perfect blend of comedy and horror and Chastity Bites doesn’t skimp on either – there are laughs a plenty and there’s a some nice gore and grue too. Opening with the stunning death of of teen via knife under the chin (and into the mouth) really lets viewers know that we’re not in for just another vampire movie; and it turns out mixing both the traditional vampire tale and slasher-movie tropes is a stroke of genius.

**** 4/5

A thoroughly enjoyable comedy-horror, Chastity Bites is available now via iTunes, the film hits DVD on April 27th courtesy of Safecracker Pictures.

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