Sunday 11 November 2012

LOVE BITE review

Now in cinemas is the teen werewolf comedy horror Love Bite, starring Ed Speleers, Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr and Skins' Luke Pasqualino.

British comedy horror films have a chequered history of dubious quality. For every Shaun of the Dead (great) there's an I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (terrible), and let's not even talk about the unfortunate mess that was Lesbian Vampire Killers. Things don't start off too terribly in Love Bite, with the interesting setting of Rainmouth-on-Sea (actually Clacton) providing a nice Lost Boys-style location, and the introduction of the exotic beauty and definitely not English Jessica Szohr to spice up the boys' lives. They meet at a local party (or as Luke Pasqualino's walking erection puts it, a "beaver safari") where she takes an instant shine to nice guy of the group Jamie, running off when she spots the full moon descending.

Ed Speelers (of childhood Eragon "fame") stars as Jamie, a thoroughly nice boy who respects women and treats them well but somehow is sexually inexperienced, despite his rock hard abs and a face that belongs on the set of Falcon Crest. Juliana's in town to do research for her travel blog, which involves her flitting around the world all the way from a few days in Budapest to this outdated English seaside town where she suspiciously precedes to spend the next month or so. 

Appearing as a scruffy werewolf hunter is Timothy Spall, bumbling around with the only notable comic moments in the entire film stemming from his inept eccentricity. His role sees him spending most of the film warning Jamie to stay clear of Juliana, and the two guys do have a fun chemistry together. It's such a shame that the rest of the inhabitants of Rainmouth are such morons, from the local inept cops to the slutty, desperate English girls to Jamie's friends, whose idea of fun is trying to repulse the lady in the chip shop in increasingly juvenile ways. They're bored living in this sleepy seaside town, I'm bored watching this sleepy seaside town.

The problem with choosing werewolves as the main antagonist is that after a brief surge of activity during the full moon, it's a full month before anything can happen again. The middle hour of the film drags on for so long it feels like a whole month, with the only noticeable signs of character progression being that lead knobheads Kev and Spike get better at the Dance Revolution game they've been playing in order to impress girls. The film's best idea is that the werewolves only target virgins, so the lads must get deflowered before the next full moon or pay the price. It's an idea that gives the lads some sort of impetus, but it's barely mentioned until the final act and not used to its full potential. It's been covered better in the post-Scream American teen horror Cherry Falls, anyway.

Featuring such terrible examples of "teen speak" that you'll want to castrate yourself to ensure any future offspring you may have had won't be able to talk in such an unacceptable way, this is clearly a film written by 40 year old men whose research extends about as far as a Kevin and Perry sketch and transcribing Stifler from American Pie. It's not particularly scary too, with the effectiveness of the werewolf's presence spoiled by some below par special effects. As horror films starring Skins cast members go, this one ranks somewhere ahead of Chatroom but not quite reaching the sort-of-scary mediocrity of Tormented.

Despite Ed Speleers and Jessica Szohr putting in reasonable performances, Love Bite is a teen werewolf comedy-horror that's light on the werewolves, overflowing with teens and seemingly devoid of any comedy. It may be faint praise, but I suppose you could say that it's no worse than you'd expect it to be.

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