Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Scott Alonzo, Saraphina Bardeaux, Jeremy Beland, Jimmy Blais
Directed by Ryan Nicholson
There’s nothing I hate more about this job than being disappointed. Sometimes I think I expect too much from the indie scene these days, but then I see stuff like Underbelly and I know there’s still some hope. Unfortunately, then I catch a film like Gutterballs that just hits all the wrong notes, even if it’s intentions are in the right place, and that old feeling comes back again.
I seem to be in the minority with my issues for Gutterballs, since all the other reviews I’ve found for it lean to be positive. So maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for an “homage” to 80’s slasher films. Maybe the excessive amounts of nudity and sex scenes took me out of it too much. But honestly, what I think did it was the rape.
You see, back in the 80’s you had slasher movies where someone is wronged during the first two reels or so, then inevitably comes back for bloody revenge on those who wronged him or her. If memory serves, however, said wrong doings were never being raped with a bowling pin, nor anything near that, but that’s where Nicholson chose to go with Gutterballs.
The story starts out with two rival bowling teams, the first consisting of women and one transvestite (don’t ask me why), the other made up of some of the most obnoxious humans ever put on screen. A third team shows up one night and there’s some fisticuffs so the alley’s owner throws them out; though for some reason says they can make up their league game the next day, after the alley closes. Good way to explain why the place is mostly empty, eh?
The most obnoxious of the obnoxious guys is pissed because the really hot girl on the other team won’t fuck him anymore, so they lure her into a backroom and gang rape her, a scene that just goes on and on to the point where I had to honestly wonder if Nicholson was really just trying to see how many people he can offend more than anything else. Eventually their “leader” forces the quiet, somewhat mousy member of their group to finish her off with a bowling pin, by which point I was ready to move on with my life.
I persevered, however, all for the good of seeing it through to the end.
So the next night they all come back to the alley, even the girl who had a bowling pin forced inside her, and start bowling. Sure, cause why would she call the cops or anything, then she couldn’t get her bloody revenge, could she? It’s all a bit obvious, especially when she disappears right before the bodies start piling up and the mysterious bowler “BBK” shows up on their scoreboards, racking up skulls instead of strkes.
There are some twists, so if you can make it through to the end, and what will likely prevent that is the nearly- across the board atrocious acting, you may have some surprises awaiting you. If you even care by then, of course.
So what works? The gore is pretty impressive when it finally shows up. There are some inventive kills done, but then you’d expect most of them considering that the film takes place entirely in a bowling alley. Oh, and the music is very fitting, being made up of 80’s songs by the likes of Loverboy and others. Unfortunately the music is a bit overused, as it seems every scene has a new song start up in it, but I can’t fault them for using it as much as possible; I’m sure the rights weren’t cheap!
That’s about it, though. Like I said, with the minor exception of maybe two characters, the acting is just god awful or, in the case of the “leader” of the obnoxious bowling team, so bad and over-the-top that it will make you want to punch the person next to you because he’s so fucking annoying. And of course he’s one of the last to die…
If you’re in the mood for a flick with plenty of T&A, a good amount of blood and characters who exist for no other purpose than to die horribly, Gutterballs is right up your alley (pun intended), as long as you can get past the protracted rape scene, of course (that’s why the fast forward was invented). If you’re looking for something fresh and interesting from the indie horror scene, I recommend you look elsewhere.
1 1/2 out of 5
Discuss Gutterballs in the Dread Central forums!