JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Bite Marks (Director/Writer: Mark Bessenger) - July 30, 2012
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Bite Marks

3.5 3.5
82 min.

Toothy romp with a semi-subtle undertone

As long as the rising of the sun sends vampires back to their coffins or crypts, that neck-lusting film genre will continue to attract contenders with a new “take” on the ages-old tales of lost souls who go bite in the night.

Director/writer Mark Bessenger’s entry into the field of fanged bloodsuckers works remarkably well and shows promise of even better things to come with his début feature. The elements (gay couple travelling to discover if both of them can say “I love you” and mean it; two brothers sharing the same woman: one has found religion the other seems to be a candidate for a course of Viagra; one slutty-mouth waitress and a few innocent pawns in the crimson narrative whose primary purpose is to feed the living dead more than the plot) are not new, but the subtext of humankind seeing only what it wants to when trying circumstances come along adds welcome value to the otherwise predictable show (OK, OK: No I haven’t seen a boxing match in these sort of flicks—ballet, yes: cross-reference below).

The underlying theme is set in motion during the early scenes as Brewster (Benjamin Lutz finally, er, comes into his own as his identity is straightened out and his blood begins to boil) fails to totally satisfy his brother’s (Stephen Geoffreys) whoring spouse (Miranda Downey dishes out her disdain with convincing abandon). He’s suddenly saved from that drooping predicament by a last-minute assignment to drive his vanished sibling’s rig—filled with a load of coffins, wink, wink nudge, nudge—to the middle of nowhere. Guess who he picks up along the way?

Promiscuous hitchhiker number one (and YouTube devotee—that gag has a terrific payoff during the last reel) comes in the alluring form of David Alanson playing Vogel. The wisecracking buff boy has no qualms about mooning, spooning or bringing any subject back to his favourite activity: sex with anyone randy and handy. Cary, his road-mate and anxious bed partner is given just the right tones of love, wisdom and despair by Windham Beacham. Sadly, those hankering for an upper torso shot of the wandering lovers will have to await the sequel. But those who prefer their female vampires to be as buxom as they are insatiable are sure to get a rise out of Racheal Rivera’s personal best.

Holding everything together is the marvellously inventive original score from Rossano Galante, replete with dark Gothic chords (just measures away from Wagner), boney xylophone on demand, zesty travel music and an around-the-18-wheeler chase scene that has a wonderful flavour of the Keystone Cops. And don’t be late for the show, the opening extra-creative credits are worth the price of admission alone (using a dollar sign in the Executive Producer’s name is a hoot).

Having now cut his own “fangs” on a production that has enough flow to keep viewers engaged and a cast that clearly comes from the same school of camp, Bessenger ought now to up the ante and let his own storytelling skills lead the next project without having to fret or frolic through movie rules for the damned. JWR

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