#SXSW: “BITCH ASS”
By David Baldwin
When the title of your movie is BITCH ASS, it is safe to assume you will attract some attention. Add a splash of ’90s-inspired horror and the gritty, independent flavour of the ’70s Blaxploitation era, and you have all of the hallmarks of a future cult classic in the making.
The Film opens on legendary Horror icon Tony Todd (in deliciously over-the-top Cryptkeeper mode) popping in a VHS tape and introducing us to the titular character (played by Tunde Laleye). He is hideously-scarred, obsessed with board games and lives in his late grandmother’s house, rumoured to be filled with cash and all kinds of valuable items. When a group of teenagers break into the house as a form of gang initiation, the so-called “first Black serial killer to don a mask” springs into action and forces his prey to play a game…to the death!
Is it possible to like a concept and idea more than the execution? That is the question I found myself asking constantly during BITCH ASS. Writer/Director Bill Posley has constructed a very, very fun idea with the demented serial killer forcing his victims into high stake manifestations of classic board games you will immediately recognize. It may be easy to think of the Saw films after reading that, yet Posley’s elaborate games are not nearly as sadistic or mean-spirited (though he may have borrowed some of those films’ editing cues). Where he falters – beyond the budget-conscious, lo-fi look of the Picture – is in his storyline, which seems to never know when to end or where to stop giving out exposition. It is clear from the start who the players are and their relationships/connections to the other characters. You did not need multiple flashbacks to spell it out further. Worse, Posley’s game scenes are so slickly-produced that practically everything else around them suffer (including some horrific lighting effects that should not have been added in post).
While the acting is well-done all around and the gore and makeup effects are solid, I feel like BITCH ASS could have been tightened up. More to the point, it works better as a feature-length proof of concept versus anything else. The ideas and characters are all here, as is the humour and the blood. Posley just needs a healthier budget to bring it altogether.
BITCH ASS screens at SXSW‘ 22 as follows:
Monday, March 14 at 11:00PM EST – Alamo Lamar D
Wednesday, March 16 at 11:15PM EST – Alamo Lamar D
Saturday, March 19 at 4:15PM – Alamo Lamar B
Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00AM EST – Available for 48 Hours