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10/2/13

ONCE BITTEN - REVIEW


Back when Jim Carrey was still a relative unknown, he starred in this 1985 vampire comedy about a high-school kid who falls for the charms of an older woman who just happens to be a vampire thirsting for the taste of his delicious virgin blood.

Mmmmm...

It's a bit weird to think that I watched this film several times as a young kid and liked it seeing as I don't think I even knew what the hell a virgin was at that time. I guess I must have just focused on the vampire stuff and the goofy jokes and somehow the film still made some sort of sense even without all the sexual undertones and... overtones. As a comedy, Once Bitten's actually pretty fun. You've got Jim Carrey playing a surprisingly more restrained type of role than we're used to seeing him play these days yet still providing the odd burst of trademark physical rubberiness. The film itself is a typical 80's teen comedy about a group of guys going out to get laid when things go zanily wrong. It's completely predictable and we've seen many films like it before and after but it still holds up ok for what it is. Probably because everyone involved seems to be enjoying themselves no matter how cartoonish their roles are. Cleavon Little clearly has a ball camping things up big time as The Countess' butler/assistant Sebastian and Lauren Hutton makes a sexy, imposing, evil vamp.

The humour is hit-and-miss but overall it works fine. The idea that this vampire has a hard time finding male virgins because every guy in 80's L.A. has already had sex is ludicrous and just doesn't make any sense. If the aim really is to drink blood in order to stay youthful forever, why is she being so picky? And what kind of rubbish vampire rule is that, anyway?! It's like the whole witch thing in Hocus Pocus except somehow here you buy it even less and that's saying something: Hocus Pocus was pretty silly! (still like it, though) There are some good jokes here and there, mostly to do with Carrey's gradual transformation into a vampire and, as cheesy as the whole dance-off scene may be (see video below), it's completely enjoyable and cements Once Bitten as a true guilty pleasure. Had the film been darker, it would have probably fallen flat on its ass but it's so light-hearted, naive and ultimately so charming that it can stand proudly next to Earth Girls Are Easy as a dated Jim Carrey comedy that's so random, bizarre and goofy that it's basically impossible not to like it. At least a little bit.

Do I recommend Once Bitten? Yup. I mean, how often do you get the chance to see Jim Carrey in a vampire flick? Besides, the film is genuinely fun and definitely has its moments. Whether its lols are intentional or not, this is still a forgotten little comedy that's adorable enough to warrant a watch.

Criminally under-remembered.

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