Bite Me is a 2019 American romantic comedy horror film directed by Meredith Edwards from a screenplay by co-producer Naomi McDougall Jones.
The movie stars Christian Coulson, Naomi McDougall Jones and Annie Golden.
In New York City, Sarah (Naomi McDougall Jones) is part of a subculture of people who identify as vampires and who believe they need to drink blood to stay healthy. James (Christian Coulson) is an ex-pat IRS agent assigned to audit Sarah’s vampire church.
Romance sparks between the two while clashes between their different worlds cause hiccups. Sarah’s roommates and community are not accepting of James, while James’ conservative Christian friends aren’t too fond of the vampire cult. As the impending IRS ruling looms, the two are forced to confront their feelings; will they abide by the norms or do they have the courage to fall in love with outsiders?
Allegedly popularized either by Jimi Hendrix or Crosby Stills & Nash, depending on the source, “Let your freak flag fly” is a popular expression of counter-culture, against-the-grain nonconformity. The credo could be applied to loads of often comedic screenplays – any material in which an ordinary sort is introduced into a lively, perhaps misunderstood alternative lifestyle on the fringes of society, in guided-tour fashion, emphasizing the buzzword concepts of “tolerance” and “empowerment” amidst the humorous happenings. Kinky Boots is but one of many examples (in a stretch, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is another).
Bite Me, which, despite vampire stylings, is not a horror or even supernatural genre piece, but rather a rom-com plea for tolerance, respect and inclusion for trendy folks in the modern era who self-identify as glamorous, Gothic undead types.
The setting is New York City (credit either the vision of director Meredith Edwards or a low-budget lack of shooting permits, but the metropolis looks remarkably underpopulated and village-cozy). Sarah (Naomi McDougall Jones, who co-wrote the script) is a transplanted Virginia woman, no longer on speaking terms with her family. She, in fact, self-identifies as a “vampire,” as do her two female roommates (one a Muslim, from a similarly scandalized household). Sarah still visits her flamboyant, wannabe-vampire ex-husband (Antino Crowley-Kamenwati), a high-profile lord-of-shadows-or-something in the subculture, who indoctrinated her originally (and was responsible for her now-regretted face tattoo). Though divorced, she still feels compelled to ritually drink his blood, taking co-dependence to extremes.
Another man soon enters Sarah’s life. He is James (Christian Coulson), a straitlaced, UK-born tax auditor, also divorced, relocated across the Atlantic apparently the best to distance himself from a clinging, controlling mum. Because Sarah and her flatmates have declared their lodgings a vampire “church” (“House of Twilight” with only three congregants), they have resisted paying their rates. James is assigned to judge the validity of the case, cheered on all the way by his co-workers (one of whom is part of a Christian sect, made to look as sinister and cult-ish as any of the blood drinkers).
Of course, James and Sarah despise each other initially. And of course, they fall into romance, James spending more and more time out of his mundane existence and into the lady’s colourful netherworld of vampire rave parties and fellowships. He does not reveal, of course, that he is doing all this under the pretext of investigating her for the dreaded Internal Revenue Service.
Can there be a future for this odd couple? Even with a formulaic happy ending, one just can’t imagine this relationship enduring very long before real life puts a stake in it, nay, not even if James were portrayed by the rom-com Prince of Darkness himself, Hugh Grant. Nonetheless, it is an entertaining bit of alterna-farce, with good jobs by the largely unfamiliar cast (listen for a joke about Coulson’s supporting part in the Harry Potter blockbusters) and some sharp-toothed dialogue.
Of course, one must take on faith the assertion that all the harvested blood being imbibed by the characters has been voluntarily donated and personally approved by (unseen) physicians as uninfected (and that heroine Sarah actually has a porphyria-like illness that makes blood drinking medically necessary). Moreover, as in so many other movies, our heroine somehow affords an NYC flat, even with two roommates, on her earnings from a freelance “career” as a sort of grave genealogist. Now that is paranormal-supernatural.
Watch for a brief cameo by vampire-positive singer-songwriter Aurelio Voltaire (also heard on the soundtrack).
Charles Cassady Jr, MOVIES and MANIA
“Formulaic, but funny with some sweet moments, Bite Me is a romantic comedy for those who always thought they were a little bit different.” Battle Royale with Cheese
“Bite Me is an absolutely charming indie comedy that was emotionally engaging, fun and off-beat – embracing weirdness instead of tacking it on as a quirk. I really enjoyed it.” Kalafudra’s Stuff
” …it runs at a slick eighty minutes but it’s just far too formulaic and predictable for my liking. Two people, an unlikely couple, fall in love, they hit a few bumps in the road, some ups and downs and they end up together forever. You know the score. I’ll stick with the much more twisted and original horror versions of rom-coms.” Nerdly
” …while the direction finds the right tone for a vampire movie even without any horror mainstays, the leads are likeable and relatable and have genuine chemistry, and are supported by a very able ensemble to make this one a fun watch.” Search My Trash
Adventure Kid and Blue Firefly Films will release Bite Me on digital download on the 8th February 2022.
1 hour 23 minutes