When it comes to the vampire subgenre of horror, it's safe to say that by now, we've seen every take under the sun. From the Bela Lugosi portrayal in Dracula, all the way to the sparkly, angst-filled Twilight vamps, it's been done and with varying results. It's hard to make a good vampire film and when it IS done right, we're given films like Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys. A bloodsucker-filled entry that to this day is considered one of the best vampire films of all time, The Lost Boys gave its viewers an experience that simply can't be rivaled.
While we've since received a handful of great vampire films, such as Larry Fessenden's Habit or David Slade's 30 Days of Night, very few films have captured that punk rock, IDGAF attitude that Schumacher's film confidently displayed... very few films, until now. Daily Dead readers, I am elated to let you all in on a secret: we finally have a blood and fangs film that not only captures the rebellious spirit that made the beloved Lost Boys so entertaining, but also gives its viewers a timely, important story to follow. Brad Michael Elmore's Bit is an exciting breath of fresh air and also, dare I say, one of the most important vampire films of all time.
Following Laurel (Supergirl's Nicole Maines), a young woman taking a much-needed vacation to Los Angeles, Bit wastes no time in giving viewers a wonderfully written protagonist, one that is still in the process of coming to terms of living as a transgender woman in 2019. Leaving her hometown in Oregon in an attempt at giving herself a few moments away for clarity, Laurel moves her stuff in with her brother Mark (James Paxton, Velvet Buzzsaw, Elmore's upcoming Blumhouse film, Boogeyman Pop), a struggling actor doing his best to carve his own path. There's a very authentically believable amount of chemistry between Maines and Paxton, something that is front and center in Bit. You feel like you have known people like Laurel and Mark, so when they're placed in danger as the film goes on, you can't help but sincerely care about what happens.
While going to a concert together, Laurel and Mark get separated and Laurel is taken into a group of four mysterious vampires, led by the charismatic and very cool Duke (Diana Hopper, TV's Goliath). The coolness of the women group of vamps oozes off the screen and right from the bat, you know that the lesbian feminist crew means business, their confidence instantly appealing to Laurel, who is very much still trying to find her voice, so to speak. The attraction to how confident and headstrong the group is feels very close to that of when Michael meets David and Co. in The Lost Boys, and that's something that as a viewer, you feel quite a bit throughout the film. Bit feels almost like a 2019 take on what The Lost Boys and it works on that level as well. The conflict between choosing a life as one of the cool kids with a group of vampires or finding a way to be your own hero is an interesting one, and when Duke and her gang say that their goal is to "make men the ones who are afraid to jog at night," that declaration appeals to Laurel. Finding her place in the group, Laurel withdraws from her brother and friends and we see her begin to lose herself in the group she initially thought would help her feel like she could finally be herself.
Already working as a very interesting character-based horror comedy, Bit also adds quite a bit of horror action to the mix, when M.C. Gainey shows up in the film as a vampire hunter hell-bent on stopping Duke and her crew. We're given a decent amount of horror-filled sequences, one of which involves fire and some gnarly head stomping, adding even more genre charm to an already excellent approach.
In a time when women's rights are stripped from them nonstop and the battle of inclusion rages on and on, films as bold as Bit are important, and while the themes could have very well fallen into an exploitative area with other directors, Elmore tells a story that feels like required viewing for horror fans looking for an exceptional story NOT featuring the same exact thing genre fans are given time and time again.
While Hopper, Friday Chamberlain, Zolee Griggs, and Char Diaz give viewers one of the most badass vampire groups around, and Paxton gives a very heartfelt performance as the one person who has genuinely been there for Laurel, it's the exceptional performance by Maines that really shines in Bit. There's such a natural vulnerability and authenticity to her performance and as a viewer, you're instantly enthralled by how easy it is to want to go on the journey with Laurel, something that makes for one hell of an entertaining adventure.
It's rare to come across a film that not only makes you feel like you had a lot of fun, but also makes you realize that you are truly experiencing something not only timely, but very important as well. It's beautiful to see genre films take the risks that Elmore takes, because these stories need to be told and told as well as they are in Bit. While we may have assumed we've seen it all by now, it takes a film like Bit to catch you off guard in a way that makes you smile from ear to ear, knowing that you just watched what is without a single doubt a horror classic in the making. What an exciting time for horror.
Movie Score: 5/5