In their 3 Bloody Knife review, E.L. King calls BIT a queer neon horror flip on The Lost Boys with women and non-binary characters in a Los Angeles vampire coven ensuring that men rue the day they trespassed against women.
BIT (2019) is not your typical genre film. Laurel (Nicole Maines) is a transgender teenage girl on summer vacation in Los Angeles fighting to survive after she falls in with a group of feminist vampires, who try to rid the city's streets of predatory men. Written and directed by Brad Michael Elmore, it boasts a lot of representation we don't often see in horror, like queer main characters and a transgender lead played by a transgender actress. The film felt like an affirmation to the world that trans women are women without having to say it out loud, but is that a good thing? It's a queer neon horror flip on The Lost Boys (1987) with women and non-binary characters in a Los Angeles vampire coven ensuring that men rue the day they trespassed against women.
"I picture a world where every woman is a vampire. Let men be the ones who are afraid to fucking jog at night."
Those are the rules. Men are food. You don't turn them because they are inherently evil and can't control their urges. There's a lot I enjoyed about this film and a lot that I didn't love. The dialogue and acting were a bit stiff like reading from a teleprompter, but having to squint to make out the text. The film may suffer a bit from not having a female writer on board to give it a more feminine flare while keeping the characters strong and rough around the edges as intended. It's clear the story is meant to center around the relationship between Laurel and Duke (Diana Hopper), the head of the vampire coven and ultimately their power struggle, but it ends up at times being a bit derivative.
Laurel's trans identity is only obliquely referenced in the film and we get small snippets of her backstory and struggle with depression before transitioning, but not much clarity beyond that. Something about the representation in the film as a non-binary person myself bothered me. It just wasn't being loud enough and it felt like there was a level of discomfort with exploring it. Instead, we got an overarching flashback of Duke and her backstory as a lesbian trapped by a man, The Master and why her goal is to keep the vampire population female. It's about revenge, power and control. She is a man hating feminist, the stereotype that we fight against constantly.
When Laurel hasn't fed and ultimately feeds on her brother during an argument, she seeks to circumvent the rules of the coven to save his life. This is only made possible by releasing The Master's first bride and the revelation that Duke has been just as evil as the men they prey on by manipulating the rest of the coven with the power she ingests by eating the heart of The Master. I hated that Duke became the big queer villain made to suffer by the end of the film when her actions were fueled by her own trauma.
Despite it all, I liked BIT, but I didn't love it and I just wanted it to push things further. It teetered on the edge of going places that were dark and gritty, but never quite got there. I would love to have a deeper exploration of Laurel and more development of her character in a sequel. Laurel often felt like a supporting character to Duke's dominate presence. Duke was multidimensional and I wanted more of that for Laurel. She was the character I cared about because Elmore really didn't make anyone else very likable.
The film as a whole is like a ginger beer that's gone a bit flat. It's got a lot of bite and it's witty, but it struggles to hit the mark at times. I felt a bit lost, a little put off and that sense of female empowerment I was hoping to get going into the film was really lacking by the end. To my surprise, Duke ended up being my favorite character. While Nicole Maines delivers a wonderful performance as Laurel, it is overshadowed by the aggressive dominance of Diana Hopper as Duke.
Now playing on Tubi.