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Byte (2024) Review

Want to grow fur, fangs and howl at the moon? Well, in Byte, the new film from writer/director Eddie Lengyel (The Curse of Lilith Ratchet, The Melon Heads: House of Crow) there’s an app for that.

Jett (Marshall Vargas, White Noise, trial of Error), April (Kayden Bryce, Chasing the Ghost, Evil Takes Root), Nora (Carlie Allen) and Damon (Stephen Nicholas Knight, Public Axis 3000, Assassin’s Game) are hanging out on Halloween when Jett gets a bright idea. He downloads an app that claims, if you buy werewolf blood from them and perform the proper ritual, you can become a werewolf. It’s Halloween and there’s a full moon, so why not? Nobody seems surprised when the blood shows up almost immediately after he orders it, as if delivered by some lycanthropic DoorDash.

They’re also not surprised when the ritual seems to have no effect. But later that night, a woman walking home is torn apart by something large and hairy, followed by another two victims the next, Damon begins to wonder if something did happen after all.

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In many ways, Byte is the opposite of the last werewolf film I reviewed, Blackout. Apart from some talk about one of the victims falling on hard times and “getting into the entertainment industry, if you get what I mean.” there’s nothing at could be considered social or political going on here. And lycanthropy isn’t being used as a metaphor for anything, the werewolf here is just a big hairy creature with a taste for killing.

Instead, Lengyel serves up a fun updating of the basic werewolf story as Jett’s friends try to get to the bottom of the rash of brutal killings and find out if he’s responsible. But as they dig deeper, things become a little more complicated than they expected. Granted, finding out that information at times seems a bit too easy, Professor Grey (Debbie Scaletta, Escape from Death Block 13, The Last Witch Hunter) turning up at just the right moment and immediately thinking of an old colleague, Professor Rader (Bill Schroeder, Red Water) before just as suddenly exiting the storyline, for example.

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But despite the script taking an occasional shortcut, Byte does a fairly decent and fast-paced job of telling its story as our heroes head to their showdown with Professor Rader and find out what lies behind his app. It all ends up being a hybrid of what is usually a supernatural monster, a mad scientist movie and an internet horror story along the lines of App, Dreadout, Countdown and Apparition.

As for the creature itself, unfortunately Byte doesn’t have any transformation scenes, but we do see plenty of the creature. It’s a practical effect, an effective looking mask and a full body costume put together by Jennifer Benavidez (Virus of the Dead, Romeo & Romeo) and Brad Stillwell. The creature also comes with a set of claws that look more than capable of ripping up its victims., something we also get to see rather frequently. The attacks aren’t overly gory, but they show enough to keep most fans happy.

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One thing I have to note however is that while most of the cast do an acceptable job, there are a couple, you’ll know them almost as soon as they open their mouths, who sound so flat and monotone it’s like they were reading from cue cards. I can normally deal with weak acting but this is so noticeable and, in one case it’s a pivotal character, that I couldn’t really shake it.

Overall, though, Byte does a good job of delivering a lot of fun on a low budget, complete with a monster that isn’t hidden away until the end and some gore effects along the way. It might not be anything game changing, but it will provide a night’s entertainment.

Byte is available to watch free with ads on Tubi. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

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Our Score

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