Alastair Gamble - Steve
Mihola Terzic - Sarah
Candice Lewald - Lisa
Nathan Dashwood - AJ
Dan Ellis - Janitor
Nathan Witte - Jamie
Danielle Munro - Julia
Stephanie Schacter - Cindy
Saraphina Bardeaux - Hannah
Genre - Horror/Slasher
Running Time - 96 Minutes
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4
PLOT - At a bowling alley, two rival teams play each other after hours. The rivalry gets so personal that they end up fighting and decide to continue the battle the next night. Lisa (Candice Lewald) forgets her purse and goes back inside the bowling alley to get it. This is a big mistake when Steve (Alastair Gamble) and his goons wait for her and then viciously rape her, including once with an actual bowling pin. The next night, the teams return for another game, with only the specific parties involved with the rape keeping the dirty act to themselves. However, someone else also knows about the rape and has taken upon themselves to kill everyone in the bowling alley in the most vicious ways possible.
STORY - GUTTERBALLS is a film I've heard so much praise about that I wonder what took me so damn long to see it. Ryan Nicholson is obviously attempting a homage to 80s slasher films and I think he does an admirable job at it. The plot is fairly simple: a psuedo-revenge/slasher flick involving a masked killer who murders people in a bowling alley in violent ways. Nothing more, nothing less. 80s slashers were thin on plot anyway, so I really had no problem with the simplicity.
I did, however, wish the characters were better written. I didn't really like any of them to be quite honest, as they were all jerks, bitches, and annoyingly slutty at times. I do think some characters were portrayed better than others. Steve, for example, was the villain you love to hate and he was one of the few that actually had a personality I could buy. Same goes to the Janitor character, who cracked me up and would be a guy I'd have a beer with. But the other characters were pretty much stereotypes in some way or another and they didn't really capture my interest all that much. It's a not a bad thing knowing who your cannon fodder are, but a little more depth is always nice.
The dialogue was great and I had a fun time listening to these characters speak to each other. I thought alot of the lines were clever and no one sounded alike. The script kept my interest for the entire length of the film.
DIRECTION - Ryan Nicholson did a great job with the low budget that he had at his disposal. I loved the neon colors and the little touches that gave GUTTERBALLS an 80s vibe. The framing of certain shots really worked for me, especially during some of the murder sequences. I thought Nicholson set up a lot of situations well and he showed them all in their full glory, creating a gritty and brutal horror film that would be butchered by the MPAA in a heartbeat. Sometimes I wondered what was CGI and what wasn't. I could barely tell with this film. I do think the rape scene may have been a bit too long, but Nicholson really wanted us to witness the act and hate the rapists and hope the BBK Killer butchered them. I thought Nicholson handled the visuals extremely well.
VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - Jackpot! This film is ULTRA violent. Death by 69? A literal sex change operation? Sliced throats? Bowling pins shoved down throats? Head bashing and face ripping? Let's not forget the dude who gets raped by a sharp bowling pin up his ass! This film does NOT hold back at all.
When it comes to the sexual situations, this film was borderline pornographic. We see a vagina not afraid to flaunt what its got. We have breasts. We even have male full frontal where the actress actually gave the guy a blow job. And then there's that 8-minute rape scene that ends with a bowling pin being forced into a vagina. I was like, "Holy shit! How did Nicholson get away with this?" I could have done without the sex change scene but some people may find that sexy. Ew.
And the language is full of F-bombs and every other cuss word you can come up with. This is one filthy film and I enjoyed the hell out of it!
ACTING - The acting won't win any awards but the actors did their best. I thought Alastair Gamble was perfect as the asshole of the film, Steve. I could not stand him and was waiting for the moment where the BBK Killer finally got his or her hands on him. Gamble really made the character hateable for all the right reasons. What a prick. Dan Ellis as the Janitor was a riot and I liked him alot. He was a sarcastic motherfucker and since I'm one too, it's all good. No one else really stood out for me but I didn't hate the acting. I just wish it was a bit better because the weak characterization could have been helped from decent-to-good thespian work.
MUSIC - Was that Loverboy, Trooper, and other classic rock bands I heard during the film? Yes, I enjoyed the music a great deal here. It really added to the 80s vibe of the film.
THE FINAL HOWL
It's not a perfect horror film, but GUTTERBALLS simply shows its balls by exceeding the spectrum of good taste. This film is all sex, massive amounts of violence, and an 80s vibe that makes it hard to ignore. If you like old-fashioned slasher flicks, GUTTERBALLS is a pretty damn good homage to those films. Definitely recommended if you have the stomach for a movie like this. It doesn't make a strike but it's still a pretty sweet spare nonetheless.