John V. Knowles’ “Chastity Bites” is a horror comedy that takes the classic 80’s idea of fun-time slasher delights. Then mixes that with a fascination for vintage, supernatural idolatry, and upbeat, comedy-camp satire. The film stars Allison Scagliotti, Francia Raisa, Louise Griffiths, Eddy Rioseco, Amy Okuda, Jennifer Gimenez.. “Chastity Bites” is Knowles’ directorial debut and my only thought is “why in the hell did it take this long?!”. The style, feel, and look of the film is that of a seasoned director whose work is effortlessly executed.
“Chastity Bites” follows a group of high school students both frienemies and foes, challenged with the typical social hurdles and proclivities, facing a darker sinister force out to build them up just to tear them down-Lady Bathory. Liz Bathor is on an unholy mission to see that the young ladies of the local high school stay pure and chaste. It is a clever story that is energetic, quick witted and funny. The humor is both straight forward cheese ball humor blended with the darker satirical cultural quips that aren’t as “surface”. It is one of the few films that I have seen in a long while that fully completes the story arch fully with the same intensity and conviction from start to finish.
The acting is something that pleasantly surprised me, going into the film I was expecting some fumbling by the actors on the dialog and character interaction and elements meant to create a relatable foundation between the actor and audience. At times it seems those fears were to be met but in almost every scene the cast manages to keep the comedic timing without falling flat, and for the depth of dialog, pop culture referencing and repartee this film carries, it isn’t an easy feat for Indie films to pull off. “Chastity Bites” is a modern classic that gives good 80’s homage without coming off as cheap or forced.
The special effects and soundtrack are timeless and entertaining. The effects remind me of classic 80’s horror techniques that never fade, offering good, visual kill scenes, with very minimal CGI. The fact that the film stays closer to the darker side the horror comedy than “spoof” films helps make “Chastity Bites” a film that will be enjoyable time and time again. Plus you can’t get a better character than Elizabeth Bathory when dealing with virginity and eternal youth while poking fun at social obsessions and cultural hypocrisies. The soundtrack, both musical and sound effects, create a fun, energy that never holds the film back or feels out of step with Knowles intentions. I really enjoyed this film and think all horror/comedy fans and slasher fans alike should check it out!