Why anyone would think that Jason Mewes, Jay in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob pairing, would be the perfect person to star in an erotic vampire comedy is beyond the powers of this reviewer to deduce. But this is exactly what the producers of Bitten apparently thought.
Mewes plays Jack, a down and out paramedic on the night shift who's just been dumped by his girlfriend Sherry (Jordan Madley). He gets a bit of avuncular advice, along with buckets of good natured abuse, from his partner Roger (Richard Fitzpatrick). Life is all boring repetition until Jack meets Danika (Erica Cox). Actually, he pulls her out of a trash pile in an alley, covered in blood and terribly ill, and cares for her in his apartment. Even though she has obvious bite marks on her throat and is sensitive to light, it takes him several days to figure out that she's a vampire, preferring to believe a junkie instead. In fact, it's not until she kills someone and she gives him a nip on the neck while making out over the still warm corpse that he begins to catch on.
Sure enough, Jack and Danika are soon deeply in love, which causes some obvious moral dilemmas for Jack. He loves Danika, and wants to make her happy, but he is less than pleased with the daily need for him to fresh victims to satisfy her unslakable thirst. After exhausting the supply of local scumbag drug dealers, he has precious few options. With the help of the foul mouthed Roger, he is eventually able to come to the appropriate solution, but not before several more deaths.
The film vacillates between being funny and sexy. The sexiness works better than the humor, mostly because Erica Cox is quite attractive, and spends a considerable amount of time less than fully dressed, often slathered with blood. Throw in the Tony Scott-esque three way sex scene with the hot club girl that Danika brings home one night, and the erotic box can be ticked off neatly. And it's not that the film isn't funny at all. There are moments of mild amusement, and even a few chuckles here and there. (One particular moment is when Jack is wrapping a corpse in bubble wrap for disposal, and can't help but pop the bubbles.) But everything seems to want to be funnier than it actually is. Mewes mugs quite a bit, and casts about with his trademark vulgarity laden verbal playfulness, but it seems oddly out of place in the otherwise somber film.
In fact, most of the humor comes off as discordant. There is a running theme in the film of Jack finding places to hide the bodies of Danika's victims. At one point, he is having trouble fitting the body of a drug dealer into a closet, and his efforts are overlaid with a silly, children's show type song about cleaning up a mess. The song is used over other "hiding the body" scenes as well. And it's just out of place. These are real people being killed, even people he knows if not likes, and he is for the most part blasé about it all, more annoyed than morally outraged. The blood and splatter effects, meanwhile, are fun and impressive, though not particularly graphic. The filmmakers would have been much better served to ditch the comedic aspects of the film entirely, and focus on the much more effective sexy horror angle, at which they at least had some success.
While the film is well shot, cleverly edited and even effectively performed, the critical synthesis of efforts needed for a truly good film never occurs. The humor and the horror counteract rather than reinforce each other. And the rather weakly reasoned plot can't stand up to the mildest scrutiny. Bitten is a film that could have been much better, with a tighter plot and a shift in focus. Instead, it's just a mediocre effort. Passable, but nowhere near its potential. Rent it.
The image is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks quite good. Though much of the action occurs at night, events are always clearly visible. The contrast is good, and the colors are smooth and rich. Some mild graininess crops up from time to time, but can easily be ignored.
The Dolby digital 5.1 channel sound is effective, with good separation and easily audible dialogue, though not much is demanded in that department. No hiss or other audio problem is apparent. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are available.
Outside of trailers at the beginning of the disc for the SyFy Channel show Eureka and film Carny, no extras are included on the disc.
Bitten is a slickly produced film, with a pretty good cast, though the casting of Jason Mewes is a bit of a head scratcher. Female lead Erica Cox is delicious and Mewes and Fitzpatrick are moderately funny. But the films humor and horror are often working at cross purposes, and things never come together to form a truly great film. We are left with an okay effort that could have been much better.