Vampire Sex with the Taxman


"When other little girls wanted to be ballet dancers I kind of wanted to be a vampire," Angelina Jolie once admitted. While the actress failed in achieving that goal, Bite Me's heroine, Sarah (Naomi McDougall Jones), clearly succeeds.

We first run into Sarah when she's already a purplish-haired New Yorker in her early thirties with a huge facial tattoo she had inked when she was 16 and rebellious. She later married and divorced her wily tattooist, Stacz (the rather charismatic Antino Crowley-Kamenwati).

By the way, in case you meet our heroine in a bar, Sarah doesn't drink wine. As noted earlier, she ingests blood, however, not for kicks, but for its nutritional value. In fact, without a plasma fix at least every two weeks, her metabolism goes on the skids.

When not guzzling up hemoglobin cocktails, Sarah and the tens of thousands of her fellow vampires are just "normal" folks like you. You heard me! They don't have to worry about dissolving in daylight, don’t have to floss fangs, and don't sleep in mahogany coffins. Some even create TikTok videos.

And unlike Stoker's creation, they might have dating problems. Take Sarah's bestie Lily (Mahira Kakkar), whom we're introduced to while she's hysterically weeping because her religious boyfriend broke up with her. Why? He insisted:

"You can't be a Muslim and a vampire!"

But she is! She is!

(This is the type of film that begs for the overuse of exclamation points. Sorry.)

Sarah, who's not Muslim, has nevertheless been the victim of similar rejections due to small-minded beaus suffering from sanguivoriphobia. (Look it up. I did.) If loneliness and having folks on the street yell out she's a Mike-Tyson wannabee are not enough to deal with, Sarah is suddenly facing tax problems. The Internal Revenue Service apparently can't quite accept that Vampirism is a religion and that the apartment she lives in with her mates is a tax-deductible place of worship. Oh, no!

Assigned to her case is one highly attractive, British-accented, non-neck-sucker and mama's boy, James, portrayed in an oddly seductive manner by Christian Coulson, whom you might have first met as Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Now quite a bit older with an adorable man-face and well-sized pecs, which the film likes to gaze at, his James suddenly finds he's fallen for Sarah. Yes, even though their first Q-and-A session did not exactly go smoothly, this incompatible duo find themselves attracted to each other.

The problem here is that James's boss thinks this is an open-and-shut IRS case. "Convict the vampiress and have her pay back taxes with interest or else," he insinuates. A promotion is at stake.

So you now are asking, "Can true love flow easily through everyone’s veins when such a dilemma arises?" Of course, but it will take time. In fact, it takes about an hour and 23 minutes.

With its silly but intriguing premise, under director Meredith Edwards' rather solid command, Bite Me is much better than anyone would have expected. The leads plus the great Annie Golden (Hair) and other members of the supporting cast, give their all and supply numerous full-bodied moments of merriment and a few believable pangs of distress. Naomi McDougall Jones, besides starring, also wrote the screenplay, that passes the Bechdel test splendidly. A few sections, though, could have benefitted from some minor tightening up and a few Annie-Hall-esque quips while the final picnic riot between "good" and "evil" . . . .

Well, sometimes you just have to quote George Hamilton's Count Dracula in Love at First Bite (1979) and make an exit: "I'm going out to get a bite to drink."

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