Bit: No One Man Should Have All that Power, but Should One Woman?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Looking for a twisted Mean Girls-like story with a dab of Degrassi drama? Bit may be just the film for you. The horror film follows Laurel after she graduates from high school in an Oregon small town and moves to Los Angelos with her older brother. Seeking clarity of what she wants next in life, the teen becomes tied to a group of queer vampires, the V-squad, who are all women, and whom will allow no man to become a vampire under any circumstance.

What was a simple concert outing with her brother, turned into a hot date with a girl named Izzy on the roof of the venue. Laurel and Izzy’s makeout session on the roof of the party quickly turned into Izzy biting Laurel, revealing her interest was more in survival than romance—and revealing that she is a vampire. Duke, leader of the vampire clan, had briefly interacted with Laurel earlier in the night, and decided she wanted to give Laurel a chance as a vampire instead of the clan having her for dinner.

The plot moves slowly, though remains entertaining, as Laurel goes through the motions of anger and sadness at her lack of a choice in her new humanity. Duke and the vampires explain the only rule of the V-Squad—no boys can be vampires—and Laurel accepts, as she has no choice but to accept or be killed by the group. They operate on a basis of women as leaders, because men cannot handle power. Several real life examples, including the manipulative man who turned Duke into a vampire, provide more than enough reasoning for this rule. Yet Duke easily becomes the villain by becoming the very thing she tried to protect the vampires from, abusing power.

The subtext of Bit is looming: women should be the gatekeepers of power and privilege, because men just can’t handle it without harming the masses. It’s a fun premise in a dark comedy all about vampires and a young girl trying to figure life out, yet the ultimate message seemed to be that anyone can abuse power if given too much of it, for too long.

This message was conveyed pretty clearly through Laurel’s processing of her old and new life. Still, some lines in the film felt more corny that relatable. Bit is never preachy, which is a plus, and the gory effects are far more comedic than realistic (for fellow horrorphobes).

The queerness of the vampires is never in question, just as Laurel’s transgender identity isn’t. Some reviewers question how this was never taken into account when the V-Squad first asked Laurel to join their all-women crew. I ask these reviewers to examine their proximity and knowledge of queerness. Many queer individual know that knowledge of queerness of self, often also calls upon question (or simple re-examination) of one’s gender identity and self-presentation. The two experiences connect, therefore, it feels very unlikely that any of the women in the V-squad would call Laurel’s “womanness” into question. If anything, at least half of the V-Squad presented at least a little or mostly masculine, and still were clear that they were women. Evidence enough.

Bit is an overall fun experience, even for someone who is strictly adverse to 99% of all horror films like myself. A few corny lines are washed away by the one-of-a-kind plot and zesty one-liners that make viewers question: if no one man should have all that power, should one woman?

Viewed as part of the Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival 2019

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