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‘Bit’ Review – Variety



Its central characters jaded membership youth who simply occur to be vampires — and appear to not have developed any depth or maturity regardless of how lengthy they’ve been doing this undead factor — “Bit” appears likewise content material to behave cool within the shallow finish of the pool. Brad Michael Elmore’s function flirts with numerous identification factors (trans, lesbian, feminist) with out making a lot of them, past the automated cred that putting an LGBTQ stamp on style tropes will imply for some viewers. If the “Twilight” films have been aimed primarily at teenagers, this polished low-budget indie is for these teenagers hip sufficient to be of their college’s Homosexual-Straight Alliance.

On the one hand, it’s good that in 2020 this hook ought to (regardless of our present political chaos) appear no massive deal. On the opposite, one does want this train in blase attitudinizing paid slightly extra consideration to suspense, thrills, plot, mythology, and the opposite fundamental horror parts it leaves underdeveloped. With some gay-festival play behind it, “Bit” launched on main VOD platforms with just about no promotion, past a number of tweets by transgender rights activist and “Supergirl” common Nicole Maines.

Among the many gross sales factors which might be curiously unemphasized onscreen are the principle one in all casting Maines within the lead. There are hints close to the start and finish that her character has undergone years of upheaval, presumably resulting from gender-assignment-related points. However that’s by no means spelled out, which appears odd: Does the film need us to consider id, or neglect about it?

Having simply graduated highschool in Oregon, Laurel (Maines) has parental permission to drive south and spend the summer time crashing on aspiring-actor older brother Mark’s (James Paxton) sofa in Los Angeles. Upon her arrival, he takes her clubbing, the place she instantly attracts consideration from a posse of barely older ladies led by the intimidating Duke (Diana Hopper). But it surely’s Izzy (Zolee Griggs) who invitations her to an “afterparty” the place make-out periods of assorted sorts get slightly … bloody.

The subsequent day, she feels greater than slightly unwell. Upon being regarded up once more by Duke and her crew (which additionally contains Friday Chamberlain and Char Diaz), she’s given the lowdown on changing into absolutely vampirized as a brand new “recruit,” ought to she select to take action. There are some guidelines, the principle one being, in Duke’s phrases, “You by no means, ever flip a person. Males can’t deal with energy — they’ve it already, and look what they’ve finished with it.” In actual fact, the in any other case not-particularly-virtuous fanged quartet justifies a few of their homicides by deciding on male abusers and d-bags as main victims. This hep sisterhood all sounds good to Laurel, who indicators on regardless of remaining squeamish concerning the “killing” and “bodily-fluid ingesting” components.

After this setup, Elmore’s screenplay continues at a brisk clip. There’s suddenly-very-preoccupied Laurel’s neglect of household and preexisting mates, plus the undead girls’ nemeses within the types of some macho, mortal vampire-hunting dudes (led by M.C. Gainey) and an historical bloodsucking “grasp” (Greg Hill as Vlad) whom Duke has managed to maintain locked away for a while.

Although trendy inside its limitations, “Bit” doesn’t have the budgetary means for main motion sequences or fantasy results. Extra disappointing, although, is that it lacks the creativeness to make a lot of its characters, their standoffs and numerous supernatural powers in conceptual phrases — usually a harrowing menace is eradicated by merely setting it on hearth, for example.

Maybe the relatively casually tossed-off vampiric mythological fillips right here will probably be developed extra fruitfully in any sequels (a prospect the fade-out duly teases). However whereas entertaining sufficient, “Bit” doesn’t take itself critically sufficient to be have a lot in the best way of scares or emotional urgency. Nor does it hone its humor past some style in-jokes, and the jaded flippancy that retains each Laurel and Duke from turning into greater than prematurely bored social gathering chicks with fangs.

The one time the film goes out on a extra satirical limb is in an elaborate flashback detailing Duke’s ’70s odyssey from teenage runaway to Dracula’s disco-diva sidekick. It’s a enjoyable sequence, albeit so self-contained it nearly appears to be from one other movie completely. (Lifted all too particularly from the ’78 “Superman” is a “flying” sequence for the 2 leads that ought to’ve been left on the slicing room flooring.)

The performers are enough, if left overmuch to their very own units by some weak dialogue writing and lack of a lot evident directorial consideration. Elmore appears most concerned with managing a punky neon-hued manufacturing gloss on modest means, into which the solid determine like dolls in a diorama. “Bit” could gesture vaguely in direction of the feminist-revenge likes of “Ms. 45,” however its nearer mannequin is the downtown dress-up of “Liquid Sky.” As “The Misplaced Boys” have been kinda homoerotic punks appropriate for the multiplex, so these misplaced women are underground lesbian scenesters that even Mother and Dad may acknowledge as extra playful pose than ethical menace.

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