We weren’t sure what to expect upon receiving a screener copy of the 2013 film, Chastity Bites, directed by John V. Knowles. Not only had we never heard of it (something of a phenomena considering how much time we spend perusing horror magazines & websites these cold, winter days) but we also knew that lower budget, Independent films are hit or miss. Soon we BOTH agreed that this one was a definite hit! Not only did this modern tale bring back nostalgic memories of ’80s teen flicks but managed to do so with genuine jumps and plenty of laughs!
Louise Griffiths stars as the statuesque beauty, Liz Bathos, who arrives at San Griento High School intent on recruiting hormone laden teens into joining her abstinence club a.k.a. the “Virginity Action Group” (and we dare you to not laugh every time they tout their acronym, VAG). Unfortunately, Bathos’ motives are much less about virginity as they are about vanity! It turns out that she’s none other than the infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory; Hungary’s notorious serial murderess who believed the secret to everlasting youth was bathing in the blood of virgins. Apparently it worked and she’s been spending the last few hundred years traveling around in search of victims.
Ironically the gals most eager to sign up for VAG appear to be the least likely to have remained chaste. Indeed Kelly, Ashley, Britney and Noemi, whose main motivations for all this is to become reality TV stars) are every bit as unlikable as every other high school’s popular click. Trust me, you’ll have no problem with Ms Bathos’ trying to use them like Noxema!
She also gets support from their equally shallow moms who not only fully support her views on abstinence but don’t mind partaking in her gruesome beauty treatments either.
This should not suggest, however, that the film lacks heart. The hero of the movie is a feminist blogger named Leah (played by Allison Scagliotti who reminded us a LOT of scream queen, Danielle Harris in glasses) who refuses to join the club. She desperately tries to get to the bottom of things while her best friend, Katharine (played by Francia Raisa), is drawn further and further into trouble. The allure of Bathos’ unorthodox beauty treatments, along with her sexual attraction to the vampiress, puts a stake into her friendship with Leah. It isn’t long before Leah discovers both Bathos’ true identity along with her sinister intentions.
While the story may not be the most original, Chastity Bites is absolutely endearing and stands apart from the rest. The dialogue is witty and the friendship between Leah and Katharine is both strong and believable. I think we can all relate to their plight as many of us have dealt with the angst of high school and “fitting in.” This film reminds us that there really was a time when selling your soul for a cure for acne wasn’t off base. It’s a lot like Mean Girls meets “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and not a bad mix at that.
For the most part, the special effects in this film are handled well and often old school. My only real disappointment was at the end of the feature when some cheaper CGI effects made an unwelcome appearance. This, however, does nothing to diminish the overall enjoyment of the film and we highly recommend it.
~The Terror Daves