Recently, I recorded a video for my YouTube channel going over all of the films that I own that have been released by Unearthed Films. This might have been a poor decision because it really just made me realize the amount of titles I needed to fill some holes in my collection. Of course, being the insane collector that I am, I tried to remedy this as fast as I could. This lead me to acquiring two of the company’s most recent releases. The one I am going to discuss with you all today is Ryan Nicholson’s Gutterballs.
A group of teenagers set out for a night of some competitive bowling. Anger and hatred quickly lead to a brutal rape and a subsequent return to the bowling alley the following night. Here, all gathered together again, the same group of teens are picked off one by one in gruesome fashion.
Let me start by saying Gutterballs is a fun slasher flick with plenty of callbacks to the golden era of 80s horror. I have to use the word “fun” carefully here because this film is not for everyone. If you are easily offended by chauvinistic behavior, hate speech of any kind or, most importantly, long scenes depicting gang rape, it’s probably best to steer clear of this bloodbath. If, on the other hand, you are okay with these things, you may proceed.
Filmed in Canada, the home of writer/producer/director Ryan Nicholson, this 2008 film is the second feature from Plotdigger Films. It is a low-budget flick with some low brow dialog, tons of nudity (both male and female), and some of the best kills I’ve ever witnessed.
Gutterballs features a cast of young actors who I was not familiar with in any fashion before this viewing. The level of talent on display does vary, but none of the performances are bad enough to take you out of the mood for some glorious killing. Nicholson has purposely created characters who are all extremely unlikable. Because of this, you, as the audience, will want nothing more than to see each and every one of them die a painful, agonizing death. In this department, Nicholson and his team deliver in spades.
With the help of the team behind Life to Death FX and Nicholson’s own effects experience and expertise, the gore seen throughout the film’s 94 minutes (or 96 depending on which cut you are viewing) can be described as second to none. Each obnoxiously annoying teen is met with extreme amounts of carnage, each kill topping the last.
Gutterballs is set entirely in a bowling alley. This inspires the methods of elimination, leading to death by bowling pin, bowling ball, a hot waxing machine, and so much more. Even with the small budget that this film was allotted, we are treated to genital mutilation, multiple decapitations, shotgun blasts, and more. Each kill had me smiling ear to ear and loving every second of the unfolding terror.
Gutterballs at Home
Before the untimely passing of Ryan Nicholson last October, Unearthed Films founder and CEO, Stephen Biro, worked out a deal to remaster and distribute all of Nicholson’s work. Every title would finally see the light of day as they were intended to, including some that we thought would never actually be seen by anyone.
As the second film to be released as a part of that deal, Gutterballs is now available from Unearthed Films. There is a 2-disc Collector’s Edition available featuring countless hours of bonus material and also a standard Blu-ray release. While the one disc version of this title does feature way less supplemental content, it is still a great release for anyone’s collection.
The sound design for Gutterballs isn’t the greatest to begin with, but Biro and his team have managed to make this 2008 slasher look and sound better than it ever has. The picture is sharper and the audio is as crisp as it can get. I would have loved to see an inclusion of subtitles because I am a weirdo and watch all of my movies with subtitles on, but it isn’t a deal breaker and I still very much recommend picking this up.
The acting throughout Gutterballs isn’t the greatest and the amount of hateful language thrown around so loosely in the film will indeed turn people off. Still, if you can look past this, you will certainly have a good time watching these kids get picked off… I can guarantee that.
Buy yourself a copy of Gutterballs today, as I give it 4 bowling pin anal violations out of 5.