Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chastity Bites – review

Director: John V. Knowles

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

This is an Erzsébet Báthory film with an almost Cherry Falls twist. It contains a lovely new (I’m pretty damn certain) twist of lore that raises what was essentially a mildly amusing average offering that little bit, as it brings a new toy to the table.

I am also going to have to spoil the ending – in that Erzsébet loses – so as to capture other lore they put into the film. But I won’t spoil how they get there (I hope).

scream like a girl...
It all begins in a car, and a pair of teens are making out. As it becomes a little hot and heavy the girl, Nicole (Greer Grammer), stops the boy, George (Kevyn Ruiz). She tells him that sex is a sacred act to be reserved for marriage and that she is keeping them from the gates of Hell. She doesn’t see the knife that comes from behind and slits her throat. He screams like a girl.

Leah and katherine
Welcome to San Griento where we meet feminist school journalist Leah (Allison Scagliotti) and her best friend Katherine (Francia Raisa). Leah’s journalistic nose has made her somewhat of a pariah both in school and in the town. Both Leah and Katherine are treated with disdain by the “mean girl” clique known as the Hiltons. Leah gets wind that the 4 Hiltons intend to lose their virginities together, as a team.

Louise Griffiths as Liz
At a cocktail party the town elite meet (including the mothers of three of the Hiltons). Leader of the older versions of the Hiltons is Jillian (Laura Niemi) who warns of the dangers from socialists and the liberal homosexual agenda. She has decided to look at an abstinence agenda and has found a leader, from Europe, called Liz Batho (Louise Griffiths, The Revenant). The older Hiltons ask Liz how she stays so young and she mentions a beauty regime and that she will let them in on her secret.

At school Liz is introduced to the senior girls and a new society, the Virginity Action Group, is announced. Now obviously the acronym is VAG but the film cleverly left that joke silent and thus it worked that bit better. Liz is looking for youth leaders and the Hiltons volunteer. This, of course, knackers up Leah’s en masse deflowering story about them (and she is immediately distrustful of Liz). Later we find that the girls are doing this as they have been led to believe that it will lead to an MTV reality TV show.

Stepford Vampires
So, moving forward Katherine become intrigued and attracted to Liz. Leah becomes more distrustful, whilst being ignorant of the advances of a student called Paul (Eduardo Rioseco), and this causes a rift between the two girls. Leah discovers that Liz is Erzsébet (and we find out that Leah is the descendant of the man who stopped her in her original killing spree) but no one believes her. The mums are introduced to the beauty treatment and become, essentially, a group of Stepford Vampire Brides – willing to hand their daughters over to Liz for youth and beauty.

burning blood
I said there was some interesting new lore. Erzsébet’s beauty is tied in to witchcraft and human sacrifice as well as blood. Every year she has to sacrifice five virgins to renew her demonic pact and then (as she kills virgins through the film) there is the on-going beauty blood treatments. The new lore is that if blood from a woman who is not a virgin touches her skin it burns – which I thought was a lovely new touch.

rapid decay
To kill her there is a combination of spear through her (perhaps staking through the heart) and foiling her sacrifice. This leads to her rapid decay. With the demonic pact gone the followers rapidly age completely past their original age pre-beauty treatments. However Katherine, who has her acne cleared by Liz with her “balm” does not age. Liz mentions that she was, when originally caught, walled up and had to die to escape. That she was buried for fourteen days before a follower could dig her up and she could be made to live again. Thus I think it safe to suggest that she is undead. There isn’t much more in the way of lore though there is a nice reference by having her unwilling servant called Ilona (Diana Chiritescu), who in dress and looks was reminiscent of Báthory’s maid Ilona in the film Daughters of Darkness.

blood facial
The film itself was ok, the humour wasn’t bad but wasn’t laugh out loud funny and the film itself was quirky rather than horror. It would probably just be classed as an average film that played around with the Báthory myth if it wasn’t for the burning nature of non-virgin blood, which by adding a new aspect to the genre pushes the film to just above average in my view. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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