Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gutterballs (2008)

Directed by:
Ryan Nicholson

The plot - A woman is brutally beaten and gang raped in a bowling alley by four guys, culminating in her getting a bowling pin shoved into her nether regions. The next night while two rival teams (loud-mouthed frat jocks vs. emo / punk / new waver types) are facing off after hours, a killer starts hacking everyone up in gory detail. Typically simplistic slasher movie set-up, but fair enough. I can live with it. The film had some potential. I loved the idea of a slasher flick set in a bowling alley, and the idea of bowling props being used to kill. The synthesizer-sounding music and the neon blue credits reminded me of that wonderfully cheesy 80's staple SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA too, as did the ball polisher gag. I guess that's an off-the-wall movie to pay tribute to. There was plenty of gore also. Eyes are gouged out, private parts are mangled, people are raped with bowling pins, heads are smashed in, etc. The movie does deliver in that aspect. It also delivers some rather graphic nudity. We're talking porn level close-ups of female anatomy, as well as a brief, but X-rated, oral sex scene that seems to come out of nowhere (and may employ rubber parts, anyway).

So why didn't I like this very much? Mainly because the characters were so bloody annoying, and the dialogue was so incredibly awful (was there even a script?), that the movie became irritating and monotonous right out of the gate. Non-stop profane / vulgar whining coming from a bunch of terrible actors screaming everything at the top of their lungs just simply got on my nerves. The one-liners and pseudo-insults were neither clever nor funny; "You're a stupid fucking cunt!" ... "Go get me a beer you fucking whore!" ... "I'm gonna kick your fucking ass you faggot!" Soooo witty, huh? On and on it goes, with no relief in sight. Seemed more like a bunch of adults running around acting like a bunch of misbehaved 12-year-old potty-mouthed brats who think the "f" word in and of itself is high comedy. And it got old right from the beginning. There's not a single likable, amusing or even slightly interesting character to be found in this entire movie. All I wanted to do after awhile was fast-forward to the gore, which is basically what I'd recommend doing since this film offers little else of interest.

The sad thing is that it could have been a lot of fun. The initial mood and the neon lights and the setting were the proper groundwork laid out for a fun time. At first I thought I might just like this. But everyone in this movie was so hateful, loud, one-dimensional, obnoxious and over-the-top, that the fun quickly vanished and it actually became kind of depressing to watch. The actors in this film don't seem like a talented bunch to begin with, but I can hardly blame them for coming off badly if what they are reciting here is actual scripted dialogue. I didn't care what happened to any of these idiots. All I wanted was for them to shut up. They didn't die soon enough. Even the "good" guys weren't the least bit likable. I also took little guilty pleasure in the rape-revenge aspect because three times as many innocent people were killed than the attackers, and many of the death scenes reserved for the uninvolved parties were far more sadistic and torturous than what was dished out to the actual rapists. Of course, the movie tries to provide an explanation for this at the very end but like every other aspect of the script, it's basically rubbish.

I'm sure some out there will accuse me of being uptight or say I'm not "hardcore" (whatever the hell that means) enough because I thought this one sucked, but whatever. In reality, I don't mind bad language, bad taste, gore, rape or nudity in my exploitation films. That's fine and dandy. But there's a thing commonly referred to as overkill, and this film suffers from it. By allowing his cast to behave like obnoxious, shrieking cretins and giving them so much lousy, horribly-written dialogue (or allowing them to improvise too much), the director / writer single handedly killed off his intentions for a fun bowling-themed slasher flick. Instead of being entertaining, it's merely tedious. Either learn a little restraint or for the love of God put at least one character in your movie that isn't a shrill, cartoonish, foul-mouthed moron we have to sit and listen to scream for an hour before you finally show we the viewers some mercy by killing them off.



Anonymous said...

Call me crazy, but I liked it in an inexplicable Over the Top So Bad It's Good Guilty Pleasure Way.

Adding to the tastelessness of it all, there's a limited edition version that adds hardcore sex footage to the gang rape.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Wish I liked it more. The characters and dialogue just annoyed the piss outta me!

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