Jason Mewes and I go way back. I watched “Clerks” early on back in the day when we weren’t sure if the movie was actually in black and white or if the bootleg I had downloaded was just crap. His half of the “Jay and Silent Bob” duo was striking and left a strong memory for years to come. Of course, I was right there with him through the years as he kept coming back to play the same ADD riddled drug dealer time and time again and I still loved it all the same. Though it took awhile, Mewes finally decided to strike out from his tried and true mold and flex his acting muscles on some new character types. They started small, bit parts and guest starring roles in movies such as 2006’s “The Tripper” and then running back to the solid comfort of Kevin Smith in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. Still, he did all right and made for a fairly enjoyable watch that wasn’t his token spastic self.
In 2008, director Havey Glazer decided he would take the would be thespians career one step further by giving him a lead role in his vampire saga “Bitten” and for the first time, I had to give question to my blind faith in Mewes. Sure, I like the guy just fine and thought he was pretty hilarious when he was firing on all cylinders, but could he carry an entire movie? The stakes were low; “Bitten” was slated as a Syfy Channel feature and later put into heavy rotation on Chiller TV, so there would be no big screen release for him to crash and burn in front of. Thanks to the technology known as “DVD”, this month we get to take in the uncensored version of “Bitten” and see for ourselves how Mewes fares as a leading man. Come to find out, he’s not such a bad actor after all!
“Bitten” is a pretty basic vampire story, but when compared to other Syfy Channel features, it stacks up to be a fun little black comedy. Jack, played by the aforementioned Mewes, is down on his luck when it comes to love. His girlfriend dumped him after looking elsewhere for attention when his grave yard shift at the local EMT keeps him tired and lackluster in the sack. Once he’s given up hope, he comes across the lovely Erica Cox bloodied and battered in front of his apartment. Being a paramedic as well as a bit lonely, he decides to take her inside to get her cleaned up where he, and Danika, both come to realize that the attack that left her face down in a pool of blood in front of the apartment building was no ordinary mugging. Danika has a hunger that can’t be sated by mere mortal means. She needs blood and sex; and lots of it.
“Bitten” is a vampire coming of age story with a touch of humor, a dash of gore, and a pinch of T&A. The movie never takes itself too seriously and tries to squeeze in some laughs at regular intervals. The character development is actually rather solid; we learn quite a bit about Jack and his current state of affairs quickly and succinctly. It’s easy to see why he would take this gorgeous stranger into his house so quickly. She’s beautiful and he’s lonely. The details on Danika’s past are scant, but that’s the point; she’s a mystery. It all works well as we see this desperate man quickly fall in love and start to do things no normal boyfriend would for what he thinks may be the love of his life. Never mind the fact that her life is questionable at this point. Sadly, the movie does become stretched at times. Some plot points are drawn out to fill a feature length and become a touch overcooked towards the end of the film. There are quite a few laughs though to help break up the pace. Sure, the comedy is thin and not always what you would call the ‘high’ variety, but they are definitely there and worthwhile. When compared to other films that the Syfy Channel runs, “Bitten” raises fairly high. The story is solid and the jokes are occasionally well written compared to the networks typical overdone CGI antics. Stacked against something of the big budget Hollywood variety, the film would fall short. It’s okay though, you get the sense that all involved never really expected that kind of quality and are simply having some good fun with the material at hand.
Now we return to the question of the day; how does Jason Mewes stack up as a leading man? The answer is; quite well really. The man can actually act and make himself believable! Sure, his role of Jack isn’t too far of a cry from his past roles. He’s a lower class working man. Gone are the nutty scenes of hyper active nonsense that came with his titular “Jay” role which are replaced with some solid acting bits with flashes of good old fashioned snark. There are hints of what we’re familiar with which help us identify with the man on the screen and adds well to the dark humor that film is trying to maintain. He’s not going to be headlining blockbusters anytime soon, but he can spruce up the casts of direct to video flicks, no problem.
“Bitten” is not going to reinvent the vampire genre but it is good solid fun for the most part. You’ll grow a bit weary of it all by the final twenty minutes of the movie but you’ll enjoy your journey up until that point. If they would lop of around 10 minutes of the film overall, the film makers would have a bonafied B-Movie hit on their hands but as is; they’ve got a solid B-Movie entry. Good fun, a new look for Mewes and Erica Cox is rather easy on the eyes as well. As for recommendations, I strongly suggest searching out this new uncensored DVD version over then tamed network version. After all, the T&A fits into the plot here and Erica Cox? She’s awfully pretty.