Darke Reviews | Bit (2019)


If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know one of my nicknames is The Vampire Princess. Sadly, that does make me the Vampire Princess of Tucson. Unfortunate. I have my Dark Court, whom I adore, with the possibility of some new membership from some new folks in my workplace. I have literally almost a hundred (possibly more) vampire movies in my collection. I really need to update my catalogue. I love everything about them and will watch, or attempt in some cases, any vampire movie I can find.

Surprisingly though for a creature that is centered around the forbidden and eroticism since LeFanu, and then later Stoker, there is not a lot of Queer vampire content. Sure there is a significant amount of 60’s and 70’s exploitation films in the genre; but when you examine the past forty years there is not a lot. Embrace of the Vampire in 1995 positively was shocking to people for its content, which is so mild its like putting Salt on a meal and calling it “too spicy”. Sure the flavor was there, but it didn’t push boundaries. There’s argument to be made it was because America grew up with Alyssa Milano and to see her in this role was too much for the pearl clutching set.

Why is that important now and to this movie? 

Bit is written and directed by a Cis-Het-White Man (self described) who gets what I was missing in my vampire movies..

In an interview with Vulture

I really love The Lost Boys. I really love Jem and the Holograms and glam rock and David Bowie. So it was like, how do we do Jem and the Holograms and The Lost Boys? And one of the big things was, I think we all kind of know that most R-rated movies are sort of coded for 13-year-old boys. I’m not saying 13-year-old-girls don’t like them, too! But I wanted to make a movie that was coded for young girls that’s just as R-rated as anything else.

He did it. But then, THEN he went and made it inter-sectional. He wrote a white lesbian character, a black lesbian (or bi), someone who coded non-binary (possibly ace), and a latina vampire who wasn’t hypersexualized (sorry Salma Hayek). Oh, but I am so not done. Our main character is Transgender – and not once, not one bloody time does the term come up in the movie. There’s no reveal, no exposition, just the language that so many transwomen and those around them live with. The doubt, the fear, the anger, the platitudes. The entire script is done with total respect to all the intersectionality presented and the main character in a way I could not have fathomed.

And on top of all of that, the writer and director (Brad Michael Elmore) made it non negotiable that the main character be played by a TransActress.

I was very adamant about the fact that the role was only to be played by a trans actress. It’s in the script, and it was a no-deal if it wasn’t. The script also makes note of the fact that I don’t care what level of transition the actor we get is. Because producers can be horrible, I didn’t want to pin it on anybody’s ideas of what should or should not be passing, what should or should not be considered trans. – Source Vulture

Do you have any concept how empowering it is to see a woman like me on screen as a vampire? This is *my* representation. This is the representation for a lot of women out there, Queer or otherwise.

But is it good?

For a movie with a $1.5 million budget, yes. Yes it is. Elmore is aware of his limitations and pushes them where he can, but delivers the goods with what he has. The fangs, the gore, the overall vamp effects, and some burns are better than movies with budgets ten times that size, or twenty. It gave me a story I’ve been craving and the conversation that comes with it and never forgot atmosphere along the way.

The actors of course have to deliver as well. Nicole Maines (Supergirl) is front and center as our protagnoist Laurel and delivers solidly and cleverly, bridging both snark, emotional pain, and a special kind of ennui that felt like I was watching me. Then we have the “Bite Club”, with Diana Hopper (Goliath) as Duke, Friday Chamberlain (The Fear of Looking Up) as Roya, Zolee Griggs (Wu-Tang: An American Saga)  as Izzy, and Char Diaz as Frog.  In a small, but important role, James Paxton (Eyewitness, son of the late Bill Paxton) as Laurel’s brother Mark. There are going to be some who interpret her and some of the actors as flat or stilted. That is not what I see at all. For me I read them as me and my Dark Court talking. A level of casual, snark, and familiarity that sounded like actual people talking. Even the parents of Laurel are scripted well and in a way that had my friends going “yay”.

It does have some flaws. There’s a scene or two that seem to come out of nowhere, some dialogue choices that don’t work and a scene or two that feel missing or could have been fleshed out. That being said from the other technical aspects it is tightly edited and without a single gratuitous or exploitative shot in the entire damn movie. When does that happen? Oh when the director takes the time to have the female director of photography ensure that the male gaze is not owning the camera.

TL;DR?

Bit is the movie I have been waiting for and needed for my collection. I couldn’t say its the movie I didn’t know I needed, because I have been craving this style, this feel for a very long time now. It is not blockbuster material and had it been released would have made its budget back and probably a few times that before fading, which is sad. It’s VOD release enables it to be the cult classic vampire movie that I think it is destined to be. It manages to be fang in cheek enough without crossing the line of being too self aware.

This is a completely original, beautiful, fun, feminist vampire movie that the GENRE needed and no one had quite nailed so perfectly before. I’ve watched it three times since its release on Friday and know this one will make my regular rotation when I am in the mood.

Should I watch it?

Yes. Yes you should. Support this movie so the director and the cast and the producers know it is right that the audience is there and we can get more like it.

Would you…never mind you did watch it again.

Yep. At least one more viewing this week is expected.

Did you buy it?

Twice. Once on Amazon and once on Vudu, just in case.

I guess that answers where to get it.

Hope so. It’s worth the price.

Any final thoughts?

I need to get a copy of the soundtrack for my vampire writing playlist. I also want the movie poster for my collection.

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