Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Though my feelings about director Ryan Nicholson’s film ‘Gutterballs’ is decidedly mixed, I do admire what he has done in this movie because as I have said on numerous occasions if you’re going to do a movie like this, go all the way. If you’re going to make a college sex comedy, then stuff as many tits as you can possibly find in your movie. If you’re going to make a slasher horror flick like this one here, in the absence of great actors and a clever script then dream up some horrible ways to kill up some irritating youths and hire only actresses who signed the nudity waiver. And actors for that matter since I was stuck looking at some dude’s dick in this movie. Whaddayagonnado?

It’s bowling night wherever this movie takes place where a couple of warring ‘gangs’ like to challenge each other on the lanes. Gang One is led by the EXTREMELY profane Steve (Alistair Gamble) whose crew consist of the amazingly irritating A.J. (Nathan Dashwood), Fonzie reject Joey (Wade Gibb) and hanger on nerd Patrick (Trevor Gemma). Gang Two is led by Jamie (Nathan Witte) who could pass for Rick Fox’s shorter younger brother, Sam the Transvestite (Jimmy Blais), Lisa (Candice Lewald) who apparently doesn’t own a pair of panties, and the Gothic Sarah (Mihola Terzic) among others. It turns out that the profane Steve has been pissed at the pantiless Lisa ever since prom night for not putting out, and considering how old these kids look, that’s a hell of a long time to hold a grudge. So before these two gangs get the bowling grudge match on, a brawl breaks out with Steve and Jamie beating the hell out each other, and Steve breaking his foot which makes one angry dude even angrier. The proprietor of this little bowling alley who we will know only as The Janitor, played by Dan Ellis who looks a little like Timothy Olyphant after a bender, breaks up the battle and sends these kids on their merry way.

Unfortunately the pantiless Lisa left her purse behind and foolishly goes in to retrieve it all alone which leads to probably the longest and most unsettling scene of rape I’ve ever had the misfortune of witnessing. Where this a pornographic film this scene would

have gotten Nicholson and his crew brought on charges since I think showing rape in porn is like against the law now, but it’s not a porn flick, at least not in the classic sense, so charges will be avoided. But yeah, that was tough to watch and you might just want to fast forward through it. Unless of course you dig that kind of thing.

Anyway, our ‘gangs’ reunite the next day to finally have their bowl off, including Lisa who was raped with a bowling pin, among other things, the night before. Oddly enough the automatic score keeper has another player calling themselves BBK. Nobody knows who BBK is, but every once in a while his strike box will light up with a skull and crossbones, corresponding to a disappearing friend. Hmmmm…. Seems we have a killer on our hands people, and this cat is killing everybody with extreme prejudice. The only question that remains is who is doing the killing… and why?

The only suspense in this movie for me was at what point was a severed head going to show up in the automatic ball returner. You can’t very have a slasher flick in a bowling alley without that now can you? So what does one say about this movie ‘Gutterballs’? That’s a damn good question because this isn’t a movie that I would classify as ‘good’ because as a narrative it lacks originality and imagination, and mind you if Nicholson the Screenwriter had chosen to excise all instances of the word ‘fuck’ from his movie, the movie probably would have been a good twenty minutes shorter. The word was used so often that around the fifteen minute I decided to keep count but that task became futile and most tiresome after I reached the 140’s about twenty minutes later. When you have sentences that go something like ‘Fuck you fucking fuck!’, that’s some inspired dialog right there. The acting also left much to be desired as most of our kids struggled with spewing out these profanities with any kind of believability, with the probable exception of main offender Alistair Gamble who certainly managed to pull off one of the more hateful characters in movie history. However the best acting job easily belonged to Dan Ellis as The Janitor who took trailer trash to new and glorious levels. Timothy Olyphant could only hope to be as accomplished acting wise as this dude.

Recognizing that ‘Gutterballs’ is lacking a bit as a polished and presentable movie experience, it is oddly watchable. This could be that despite the lack of innovation put into the story elements, there was plenty of innovation put into killing people in various ways at a bowling alley. The shoes, the pins, the condom machine, the ball waxer, the automatic pin setter, the bowling balls, the automatic ball returner… all were used in some form or fashion to kill, maim and murder. And most were done in the most horrible and brutal ways that one could imagine. This I admire. The rape scene I could have really done without, or at least have it truncated a bit. I also could have done without the sixty-nine on the bathroom floor, though the death emerged from that, again, was pretty damn inventive. However I don’t think my man was ‘gifted’ enough to actually choke somebody to death with his junk. I don’t think. But then I seriously wouldn’t know.

Like I said I have mixed feelings about ‘Gutterballs’ because I did watch it and though I recognize it’s glaring flaws, of which there are many, it was still entertaining in an incredibly sick and twisted way. If you’re easily offended by scenes of brutal rape, both male and female with the male version coming at other end ofa  sharpened bowling pin, then might I suggest something a little more tame. Like Hostel perhaps.

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