DWF 2013: 'Chastity Bites' - Advance Film Review

 

Chastity BitesLotti Pharriss Knowles, the writer/producer of Chastity Bites, is a self-professed horror nerd, and it shows. The film, which had a midnight showing at the Dances With Films independent film festival in Hollywood on Saturday night, both honors and sends up a lot of classic horror tropes and conventions. The result is a fun, campy horror/comedy that’s both genuinely funny and genuinely scary.


The film centers around a high school in a small town whose new abstinence-only Sex Ed. teacher Liz Batho (Louise Griffiths) is actually the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, countess from the 16th century who bathed in the blood of virgins in order to stay young and beautiful forever. The treatment apparently works, because she’s still at it in 21st century America—only virgins are a lot harder to come by.

Fortunately, a group of the school’s rich, shallow, popular girls, dubbed “the Hiltons” by those not in the clique, are eager to join Ms. Batho’s exclusive chastity club—not from any actual desire to protect their virtue, but in the hope that it will lead to a possible deal for a reality series.

More skeptical of their teacher’s intentions is Leah (Allison Scagliotti, Warehouse 13), social outcast, staunch feminist, and hard-hitting reporter for the school paper. As the only one who senses something wrong with Liz Batho and her methods, it’s up to her to uncover her evil plan and put a stop to it.

The issue of abstinence education provides a backdrop for a number of jokes poking fun at various facets of conservative politics and opinions. Knowles says she wrote the first draft of the script while George W. Bush was president, which served as inspiration for some of the movie’s themes.

Griffiths is perfect as Liz Batho; her statuesque beauty and properly British demeanor underlie a commanding air of authority, making it easy to see why so many students are drawn into her club, even when what she’s actually saying sounds a bit ridiculous. And, of course, there’s an undercurrent of evil throughout, which must have been a blast to play, even more so during the times when it bubbles to the surface.

Best in the cast, though, is Amy Okuda (The Guild webseries), who plays Ashley, the Queen Bee of the Hiltons clique. Her character is shallow, self-centered, and domineering to the point where it’s almost farcical. But, she still makes it believable. Her scenes and lines are just about the funniest of the entire film, and the direr the situation gets, the more you’ll be laughing out loud.

That effect becomes increasingly typical of the film as it progresses. Several bits manage to be both funny and scary simultaneously, with the laughs being a bit of whistling in the dark. It’s unabashedly campy and revels in its classic horror roots. Considering what the movie’s about, both the violence and sex are surprisingly toned down for a horror film, though. It forgoes gratuitous nudity, and there’s somehow less blood than a number of other horror and slasher flicks that didn’t even have blood as their central theme.

Chastity Bites
doesn’t need gratuitous sex and blood to be entertaining, though. It provides laughs, screams, and much more. This film will be enjoyable for classic horror aficionados, as well as anyone who just appreciates some good, scary fun.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2013 01:34

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