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Supernatural 8.04 Bitten REVIEW

TV REVIEW Lost and Found (footage)

Supernatural (opens in new tab) Season Eight Episode Four “Bitten” TV REVIEW

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Episode 8.04
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Director: Thomas J Wright

THE ONE WHERE Three student film-makers find lycanthropy hairy going.

VERDICT If there’s one thing you can say about Supernatural ; it’s never been afraid to try something different. Break the format. Stray from the norm. Stick it to The Man! (Alright, maybe not that last one.) Unfortunately the consequence of all this experimentation is that occasionally you’re going to fail, and “Bitten” is one such occasion.

This Winchester-light found footage werewolf episode has a great idea underpinning it – that we get to experience a monster-of-the-week episode from the perspective of the monsters – but the fact it’s a shockingly transparent re-run of superb found footage superhero movie Chronicle is not only disappointing, it’s very naughty.

Kate, Mike and Brian occupy near identical roles to their Chronicle counterparts, but aren’t half as well fleshed out or interesting. Perhaps our impressions were coloured by the fact it all felt so derivative, but we couldn’t get on with them at all. It aims to tell a Shakespearian tragedy, but season two werewolf episode “Heart” hit a much more effective tragic note in a similar “getting to know the person behind the pointy teeth” episode. Even the fact the credits come at the end was done before in “Ghostfacers”!

And why on Earth do they keep filming? It’s a problem with almost all found footage films, but it’s particularly pronounced here given the sheer abundance of cameras, and the intimacy of some moments the three decide to record. Being able to cut between multiple angles are all well and good, but not when they pull us out of the episode. Credit where credit’s due though, Mike’s ability to keep the camera perfectly framed while he’s going through an extremely painful transformation is top work! We struggle to keep a digital camera steady for a single picture. And it was thoughtful of Kate to spend what must have been a good half hour or more editing the montage at the end of Brian’s movie. What a gal.

The episode ends with a nice character moment. In “Heart” Sam kills werewolf lady Madison. In “Bitten” Sam and Dean decide to let Kate go. Has Dean’s time in purgatory caused him to empathise with the very things he’s supposed to hunt a little too much?

ALL SHOOK UP While we can’t say to have suffered from it ourselves, several of you have experienced motion sickness because of the excessive shaky cam in this week’s episode. Something to bear in mind if you haven’t watched it yet (though we’ve no idea why you wouldn’t if you’re reading this review).

DEAN WISECRACKING
Sam:
“Dude, two burgers?”
Dean : “Hey, I didn't eat at Big P's for at least a year, okay? Clear eyes and clogged arteries – can't lose.”

SAM’S HANGDOG EXPRESSION OF THE WEEK

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FEATURED MUSIC “What’s The Matter?” by Milo Greene is the catchy ditty that can be heard throughout this episode http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXM_-gDaW0A

REFERENCE Sam and Dean’s FBI alias’ of the week are “Special Agent Rose” and “Special Agent Hudson”, referencing Axl Rose and Saul Hudson (aka Slash), of Guns N' Roses fame.

REFERENCE 2 Mike’s declaration of “I am a golden god!” is a reference to Cameron Crowe’s superb Almost Famous.

CREW SPOTLIGHT Robbie Thompson is an executive story editor on the show and has previously written similarly high-concept scripts such as “Time After Time”, “The Girl With The Dungeons And Dragons Tattoo” and “Slash Fiction”.

NITPICK Seriously, how did Sam and Dean not spot the trio filming them?

BEST LINES
Kate
: (about Sam and Dean) "First things first, those guys... those guys aren't FBI, all right? I'm pretty sure that FBI agents don't say "awesome" that much. You know? And--and they definitely don't hunt and kill college kids."
Mike : "Did... did they say anything else?"
Brian : "Dude, they just sat and talked about how they've been apart for a year. You were probably right about that whole office-romance thing."

Jordan Farley ( twitter.com/JordanFarley (opens in new tab))

Read all our Supernatural Season Eight reviews here. (opens in new tab)

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Jordan Farley
Jordan Farley

I'm the News Editor at Total Film magazine, running the opening pages of every issue where you can read exclusive interviews and see first-look images from the biggest films. I was previously the Community Editor at sci-fi, fantasy and horror movie bible SFX. You'll find my name on news, reviews, and interviews covering every type of movie, from the latest French arthouse release to the biggest Hollywood blockbuster. My work has also featured in Official PlayStation Magazine and Edge. Outside of my day job, I'm a FromSoft fanatic (proudest achievement: beating Malenia solo) and a TV connoisseur (translation: I'll watch anything).