Sink your teeth into a different kind of vampire romance this Valentine’s Day with Bite Me.
When Sarah, a real-life vampire, gets audited by the IRS, the last thing she expects to get out of it is a date. But James, her hopelessly romantic IRS agent, thinks she’s other-worldly. As an unlikely attraction sparks between the two misfits, they are forced to confront whether they have the courage to commit the terrifying, radical act of falling in love.
Bite Me Review
Bite Me naturally caught my eye with its unique premise. I love a supernatural story, and the added twist of the IRS audit seemed like a natural way to inject some solid comedy into the movie.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call Bite Me a flop, but it didn’t quite deliver as I’d hoped.
As it turns out, this isn’t a supernatural romance per say. The vampires in Bite Me aren’t those of fiction, but rather a religious group based on a real-life community. These vampires drink blood for energy, but don’t have any otherworldly abilities. This in itself was just a pivot, and not enough to shake my faith in the film overall. But the potential of Bite Me gets a little lost in all its complicated questions about identity and belonging.
Sarah and James are an odd couple, for sure. They’re thrown together in unusual (and arguably, decidedly un-romantic) circumstances; James is auditing Sarah’s vampire group to determine if they deserve to keep their tax-exempt religious status.
I don’t think the chemistry between the pair felt as palpable as you would expect from a rom-com. They have some cute moments, but I didn’t feel that overwhelming need to see them get together. Sometimes, the two of them were on the same page, but I felt like I was somewhere entirely different. (They’re into talking about their parents just as they’re hooking up for the first time. Guess I can’t relate.)
However, there is a nice symmetry to their personalities. Sarah, with her blue hair and facial tattoo and vampirism, is decidedly “not normal.” Even though she chooses to stand out, she’s troubled by what that means for her day-to-day life. She’s so busy worried that people are going to react poorly to her abnormalities that she ends up shutting everyone out. (Thus fueling a classic rom-com setup of “emotionally distant character finally finds love.”)
James, on the other hand, is on paper exceedingly normal. (There are few professions that can give that generic-and-uninspired-office-life vibe as well as “IRS agent.”) But he too feels confined by the role he’s created for himself. As he immerses himself in the world of real-life vampires, he comes to realize he can let his freak flag fly… Even if for him that just means breaking out some embarrassing dance moves and cuddling with an emotional support robot stuffed animal.
Vampires & Identity Politics
Stories like Bite Me have an inherent parallel to queer and minority experiences (being treated as societal “others”, generally in an undesirable way). Bite Me is clearly somewhat aware of these parallels, and themes of identity and belonging are core to the story.
That said, there’s a lot of identity politics swirling around in Bite Me that ultimately don’t all come together into a cohesive message.
Sarah’s “otherness” manifests in ways that do make you sympathetic to her at times, but in other moments has a very forced “not like other girls” energy. One of her fellow vampires has a breakdown near the start of the movie because someone told her she can’t be both Muslim and a vampire. Instead of exploring this dynamic, Sarah and a friend just comfort the woman with “of course you can” platitudes. The ending sequence in the film includes what’s essentially a social visibility protest for vampires, but it’s one that Sarah herself never wanted to take part in. She comes across as only concerned about her personal relationship with James, which works as a romantic plot point, but doesn’t fully track with the identity journey and underlying political themes of the story.
Overall, Bite Me feels well-intentioned, though not always well-executed. The humor is a bit hit-or-miss, as is the chemistry between the leads. It had an interesting story to tell, and I was invested enough in the resolution to watch the whole thing. But I can’t help but feel that Bite Me bit off a bit more than it could chew here.
Bite Me is available on VOD platforms now.