Frameline 2019: Bit: An Instant Feminist Vampire Classic

Nicole Maines as Laurel in Brad Michael Elmore's Bit.

Nicole Maines delivers a commanding presence in Bit as the film becomes the queer feminist vampire movie that we’ve been needing for so long.

A brief prologue introduces V-Squad, led by Duke (Diana Hopper), before cutting to Laurel’s (Nicole Maines) Central Oregon High graduation.  Laurel’s still figuring out who she is in terms of what she wants to do with her life.  Before embarking on her future, she’s off on a road trip to visit her brother, Mark (James Paxton), in LA.  Laurel is quickly befriend by Izzy (Zolee Griggs) while at a club one night and this leads to being on the in with the V-Squad.  All Laurel knows is that they’re a bunch of queers.  She has no clue that her life is about to change.  In addition to Duke and Izzy, other vampires include Frog (Char Diaz) and Roya (Friday Chamberlain).

When it comes to the V-Squad, there is one rule: no men allowed.  Women can be turned as often as they wish but guys are forbidden.  This is because Duke previously had a bad experience and doesn’t think that men can handle that type of power.  With a mission of rooting out sexual predators on the street, the end goal is to make men afraid of jogging at night.  Knowing all of this, Laurel doesn’t see eye to eye with Duke.  Nobody can blame here for this.  After all, she’s her own woman!  Anyway, Laurel finds herself so embedded in the group that it drives a wedge into relationship with Mark as well as best friend Andy (Matt Pierce).

Nicole Maine’s Laurel is transgender.  What I love the most about the film is that it’s not a big deal.  There are some references to Laurel’s gender identity in a discussion with her brother but that’s about it.  I love it when films don’t make our being transgender a big deal.  Taking into account that this film is post-transition is another plus.  This sends the messages that transgender people can transition into who we are and still be able to live a life.  Okay, so there’s a major transition taking place in the film but it has nothing to do with gender identity!  As far as portraying Laurel, Maines is perfect for the role.  If you’re familiar with Maines’ work on Supergirl, the actress shows that she is capable of performing quite the range.

Elmore’s script isn’t above poking fun at previous teen vampire films.  Looking at you, Twilight!  In all seriousness though, this film has everything you’d expect from a vampire movie.  There’s enough to satisfy every crowd:  horror, comedy, and queer feminists.

Make no mistake, Bit is living proof that we can make films about the LGBTQ (especially transgender) community without being exploitative.  I’m just excited to see transgender representation where it’s not a big deal.  Trust me when I say that this film is going to develop a following for many years to come.

CAST:  Diana Hopper, Nicole Maines, James Paxton, Zolee Griggs, Char Diaz, Friday Chamberlain, Julia Voth, Greg Hill, M.C. Gainey, James Jagger

Bit holds its US premiere during Frameline43, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Grade: 5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.