December 5, 2009

Gutterballs (2008)

Having enjoyed both of director Ryan Nicholson's previous outings, Torched and Live Feed, I must admit to looking forward to seeing what he would come with next. Well, Gutterballs is that next and I can safely say that it was worth the wait, and although it didn't exceed my expectations it did leave me with a big grin on my face whilst also being a little shocked as to what I saw on screen. Gutterballs may not be quite as dark as the director's previous efforts on a first glance, but believe me when I say that this is one nasty movie that pushes the limits of what is acceptable on film. Gutterballs, in the form that I saw it, will not be receiving a favourable rating from the MPAA, there's no hard R pussy-footing about here, this is NC-17 all the way. But, by fuck it is fun in a sick and twisted way.

The action unfolds almost entirely within the Xcalibur bowling alley where two groups of young adults are there to play a match. Now, these two groups do not get along in the slightest, and before long a fight breaks out which the bowling alley's janitor (there are no other staff for some reason) puts a stop to. He informs them that they can come back the next night though for some after hours bowling.

In between this though and the next night one of the characters is subjected to an absolutely horrific rape and assault by the other group. She does however make it along to the following nights event. It becomes quite apparent though that all is not well during the rescheduled match as one by one the bodies start to pile up in all manner of gruesome ways.

Gutterballs is a straightforward slasher flick, an homage to the slashers of the early 80's, as well as the sex comedies and John Hughes style flicks of the same era. This is something the movie makes no apologies about, there are no frills, no attempts at trying to be clever, or self referential, just flat out balls to the wall (pun intended) slasher mayhem. Admittedly one that has one hell of a lot of graphic sex in it; there's no teasing the audience here, we get to see everything, and I mean everything.

Although it is a very brutal movie, the gore comes thick and fast, the rape scene as mentioned is incredibly nasty and some of the characters are just plain despicable, there is a rich vein of humour that runs throughout the movie. Such is the fact that I din't know whether to laugh at what was unfolding on screen or whether to be appalled. I ended up laughing, especially listening to some of the banter that the janitor (played wonderfully by Dan Ellis) spewed forth.

Aside from Ellis' performance there are also a few other good, not great, performance from the cast. Alastair Gamble as the king of all assholes Steve is quite excellent in his role. Just about everything that comes out of his mouth is obnoxious and offensive, but it is played out so well. Nathan Witte as the "good" guy Jamie was also impressive. As you might expect in a slasher film though some of the performance were a little lacking, but that didn't take away from the film itself, if you watch slasher flicks for the performances then you must have too much free time. This is all about the gore baby!

As for the gore and special effects they are thoroughly disgusting throughout; there is plenty of blood being sprayed about here I can assure you. Some of the kills will make you squirm away in your seats, some will make you chuckle, in particular the ball-waxing machine with a mind of its own.

On top of all this carnage, mayhem and sex, and just to emphasise the era the film is paying homage to, is a thumping 80's soundtrack from the likes of Loverboy and April Wine. It really is like the 80's never left us.

Gutterballs isn't a perfect movie, but it is very enjoyable in all its warped glory, and fans of slashers, and the other movies it gives nods to should enjoy every minute of it. Personally I thought it was a far superior slasher flick to some more over-hyped modern slashers that are available. Sure the characters make dumb decisions, but didn't they always in these kinds of movies?

Some inventive deaths, plenty of blood and gore and a sick sense of humour should be enough to keep fans happy with this movie. Just be careful who you watch it with as Gutterballs is strong stuff. You have been warned.

Rating: 3 stars

Review by Jude Felton


3 comments:

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

I saw this almost a year ago (on new years day to be precise) on a really good quality copy pirate DVD so why have you only just seen it?. A`int there no gorgeous little Chinese birds flogging $3 DVD`s and giving $30 blow-jobs where you live?.

Pain said...

This is a repost of an old review I wrote. I actually got sent the screener nearly two years from Ryan. So no need for me to pay for my blow jobs ;)

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

Yeah, obviously its better to be in a situation where you dont have to pay for them but i`m a desperate man and the Chinese bird is gorgeous. By the way, i thought Gutterballs would have been a much better film if every character in the movie had been a beautiful, gorgeous, naked 18 year-old chick with incredible knockers but then again i suppose thats something you could say about every film thats ever been made!!!.