Starring: Timothy Spall, Jessica Szohr, Luke Pasqualino, Ed Speleers, Kierston Wareing, Robert Pugh, Joy McAvoy
Director: Andy De Emmony
Writer: Ronan Blaney, Cris Cole
Running time: 91 minutes
Rated: Not rated (contains adult language, violence, adult situations, brief nudity)
Reviewed by Michael Juvinall
Growing up as a kid of the eighties, I remember watching all the teen sex comedies that I wasn’t supposed to watch such as Private School, Porky’s, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Last American Virgin, just to name a few. Those films were a huge part of my sexual education…so to speak. The other major influence on me growing up, and a much larger one at that, was my love of horror films. But what if you combined the two genres into one film? Well, British filmmakers Andy de Emmony and West End Films have done just that with their coming-of-age sex comedy/horror film, Love Bite.
If there would have been a film like this when I was growing up, I would’ve gone nuts for it. The film takes the typical teen sex romp and turns it on its head by adding a werewolf to the storyline. In the film, a werewolf comes to town and has a particular affinity for virgin flesh, so the kids in the story have to have sex in order to save themselves. The filmmakers use a particularly amusing tag line for the film, “Everyone is dying…to get laid!”.
Jamie (Ed Speleers-Eragon, Downton Abbey) and his friends live in the dead-end UK seaside town of Rainmouth. They’re heading into the first summer after finishing high school and most of the group are content with working in the local pie factory, except for Jamie, who wants to travel but is stuck working in his mom’s B&B. One night at a party, Jamie meets a beautiful American girl, Juliana (Jessica Szohr-Piranha 3D, House at the End of the Drive) and instantly falls for her. But soon after Juliana comes to town, teens begin to go missing.
Another mysterious stranger (Timothy Spall-Harry Potter films, Wake Wood) arrives in town and befriends Jamie, warning him a werewolf is responsible for the sudden disappearances. He also warns the werewolf is after virgin flesh, so anyone who has never had sex is at risk of attack. Jamie and all his friends, for all their male bravado have never actually been with a girl before and therefore are on the werewolf’s menu. So it’s a mad dash for the boys to have sex before it’s too late.
Love Bite was released in Britain and European territories in 2012 but has never been released in North America as of yet, which is really too bad because more people need to see this film. It’s a wonderful movie and needs to find a wider audience. I really didn’t expect to like this film as much as I did. It does a wonderful job of tapping into the oversexed male psyche of today who is on the brink of adulthood and infuses it with a supernatural horror of being stalked by a werewolf who has a taste for virgin flesh. It has all the comedic elements of a classic sex comedy only with a horror twist.
There’s something about British actors because they all really know their craft quite well. The acting in the film is outstanding across the board. The three main leads get most of the attention and deservedly so. Timothy Spall, the veteran of the group is quite good and fun to watch, is very adept at playing quirky characters and it seems to come naturally for him. Ed Speelers as Jamie is a great, young actor that was cast perfectly for the film. He is a naturally likeable character who holds his own in the lead against Spall. American thespian Jessica Szohr is extremely likeable in her role and quite sexy as well. The rest of the cast that rounds out the film are all incredible character actors in their own right and add highly to the film.
We don’t see too much of the werewolf in the film and what we do see is CGI, which was a little disappointing for me. That is really the only negative thing I have to say about the film. I was hoping for a little bit better werewolf design with practical effects but the creature design is not terrible by any means and does feature a couple of cool werewolf moments in the film. There’s not much blood either, but for this type of film, I would not expect it to be a gory monster movie. It will hold the fans of werewolf cinema’s attention throughout the film without too much disappointment. There are a few horrific moments that aren’t spoiled by the comedy that are definitely worth the watch.
Director Andy De Emmony seems quite comfortable in both worlds of horror and comedy. He does an exceptional job of pulling this film off. It’s quite difficult to mix genres like this and he proves that it can be done right. I also have to give much of the credit to the writing team of Ronan Blaney and Cris Cole for creating a fascinating storyline and delivering characters that are unusually full of depth.
Overall, Love Bite is a clever mix of horror and humor with a wonderful story and exceptional acting. The film is a throwback to sex comedies of the 1980’s with an interesting supernatural twist. Hopefully we will see the film on our shores in the near future, it deserves to be checked out, so keep this film in the back of your mind and make an extra effort to seek it out when it does finally see the light of the full moon over here!
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
Watch the trailer here,