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Gutterballs (2008)

DVD Cover (Danger After Dark)
Genres:
Bowling, Horror, Sex Horror, Slasher Film
Director:
Ryan Nicholson Ryan Nicholson
Starring:
Alastair Gamble Alastair Gamble
Mihola Terzic Mihola Terzic
Nathan Witte Nathan Witte
Wade Gibb Wade Gibb
Candice Lewald Candice Lewald

6.5 / 10 - 13 votes

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A bowling night will turn into a bloody death match for a team of teenagers, as a deranged serial killer is taking them down one by one. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: February 24, 2009
If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you'll know that I have a soft spot in my heart for eighties horror. There's just something about the way that filmmakers did things during that stretch of time that strikes a chord with me, and as a result, I tend to rate "good" horror movies from that decade higher than "good" horror movies from recent times. As a result of this, I'm also a fan of the semi-recent trend of filmmakers trying to emulate this style for their own work, but I'll readily admit that I'm oftentimes disappointed in the final products. It seems that far too often, somebody will think that "gallons of CGI blood and blonde bimbos with no less than three implant scars" makes their film an eighties throwback, but in my eyes, that just doesn't cut it. Enter Gutterballs, another one of those films that was trying to capture that eighties vibe with its storytelling and its plot twists. I enjoyed the hell out of director Ryan Nicholson's last film (Live Feed), but I was sort of expecting more of the same in a new setting with this release - good, schlocky fun, but far from an eighties flashback. Little did I know...

Much like those eighties flicks that I just professed my love for, the storyline for Gutterballs is extremely simple. It begins with two teams competing with one another in a game of bowling, with one team consisting of the obligatory sluts (and one pre-op transsexual) and the other consisting of obnoxious jocks. The two teams talk trash to one another throughout the game, and just when things get a little too heated, a third team steps in and a brawl ensues. The "leader" of the jocks, angry at having had his ass kicked in front of everybody, recruits his friends and decides to get a little revenge by raping Lisa (Candice Lewald), the "leader" of the sluts. A tad bit overkill, sure, but roll with me here. As if this group of guys gang-raping that defenseless woman wasn't bad enough, they decide to wrap things up by inserting a bowling pin into her vagina before heading home for the night.

Seeing as how that fight sort of interrupted their game, the groups all get together the next night to finally see who is the better team of bowlers - I suppose that pride is a powerful thing, rape be damned. However, it doesn't take long before a masked stranger chains the doors and starts picking off the bowlers one by one in the grisliest ways imaginable, and from there, we get a nice little murderous rampage before the not-so-shocking conclusion.

If you're as much a child of the eighties as I am, you can go ahead and stop reading now: you're going to love this one. If, on the other hand, you're not quite as big a fan of those films as I happen to be, this one might not be for you. This film plays out exactly like those sleazy horror flicks that I grew up with, and it features a paper-thin plot that serves only to string us along from one kill to the next and from one sex scene to the next. It's a simple formula, granted, but an entire decade of film history can't be wrong when it comes time to figure out how entertaining it is.

As mentioned, one could easily believe that this is a product of the eighties if they didn't see the legit release date in front of them. The bowling, the plot, the clothing, the hairstyles, the camera used to shoot everything, and even the audio quality all feels like something that you'd find contained within a ragged VHS tape from a mom-and-pop video store during a time when Madonna was still relevant and Cyndi Lauper was telling us all about how girls just wanted to have fun. This is an eighties throwback that truly succeeds at emulating that style of doing things, and personally, I couldn't have been happier with the way that it turned out.

Another thing that was very reminiscent of the eighties was the over-the-top methods used by the killer to dispatch his victims, as well as the massive amounts of blood and gore. Another selling point was that it seemed like there was absolutely no CGI used for the effects - if there was, it was good enough that I didn't notice. It all appears to be done with practical effects, and let me tell you, some of the kills in here are downright awesome. Are you curious as to how a death by 69 would work? How about watching somebody's head get shoved into a waxing machine? Want to see a sharpened bowling pin inserted into a man's asshole or a close-range shotgun blast to the face? You'll get all of that and more, and it's all done in a very convincing fashion with gallons of the red stuff.

Speaking of 69'ing, I should point out that the uncut version of the film (the only version that matters) is extremely graphic in its depictions of both violence and sex. It's not a hardcore porno flick, mind you, but you will see plenty of the female form as well as a handful of penises. You'll also see penis mutilation that will make even the strongest men in the audience wince, but I'll leave the extent of that scene as a surprise for you fine viewers. Mainstream horror releases strive to achieve a PG-13 release, or if the studios are feeling particularly ballsy, they'll go for an R rating - it seemed as though Gutterballs was scared to death of merely getting an R and went all out to avoid it.

Is it fine art for sophisticated tastes? Not at all. Is it something fresh and unique? Not really - the gags are new and the faces are fresh, but like I said, an entire decade was spent perfecting this style of film. Will fans of gore, violence, and all of the other aspects of sleazy exploitation horror enjoy it? You bet your ass they will, and I count myself as one of those fans. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 02/24/2009, 05:31 PM
Saw the censored version floating around about 6 months ago. I can't imagine what they would have cut, as there was some pretty graphic scenes in it. Either way, loved it. Going to have to check out the uncensored version.

8/10
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 02/25/2009, 05:17 PM
I also saw the 'censored version' and agree. It had a different cover that looked a lot like the Maniac cover. That rape scene was a liiiittle much, but hey.. If you've seen one rape you've seen most and this was fun ha

8/10
bradbunson #3: bradbunson - added 02/27/2009, 06:25 PM
Seen the uncut version a few weeks ago at my buddies. "Wheres my f*cking beer?!" has to be the most memorable quote of the movie because it is said around 20 times.
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