13 April 2024
'Bitch Ass' out in UK from 19th December 2022 from Signature Entertainment

Film Review: ‘Bitch Ass’ (2022)

Filmmakers have found an innate horror in game playing. Whether it is a possessed board game, an evil video game or a villain that entices their victims to participate in a game – there is a sub-genre of horror in which the losers are killed, and the only people who get to survive are the ‘winners.’

Bitch Ass‘ is another addition to this sub-genre. Directed by Bill Posley, in his feature directional debut, ‘Bitch Ass’ follows a small group of gang initiates as they are sent by a local crime kingpin to rob a house. The house in question is inhabited by a mysterious recluse who was bullied into isolation and who forces each member of the gang to play him at a board game where losing means more than just wounded pride.

The games in question are well known games slightly disguised for obvious copyright reasons – Battleship, Connect Four, Operation etc. The process of playing games most commonly associated with childhood and thus innocence has recently been put to use in the exceptionally popular Squid Game. Unfortunately, the concept does not work quite as well in ‘Bitch Ass‘, and it is with reluctance that it must be said that this is mainly due to budgetary constraints. The film’s overall concept is a pretty cool one and certainly has potential, but the film often looks low budget to its detriment rather than enhancing its tone and setting as other low budget horrors do.

Visually the film is also a bit of mixed bag. Posley makes use of multiple split screens to showcase action happening simultaneously which adds to the gaming element and is fun. However on the flip side of that is the use of different aspect ratios and in particular an elongated aspect ratio which distorts some of the screen and thus distracts from the film itself.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is its diverse characters and in particular its villain that subverts expectations and stereotypes. Tunde Laleye plays loner and recluse ‘Bitch Ass’ and by all accounts looks physically intimidating. However, rather than using brute force, he uses board games as a means to lull his victims into a false sense of security.

‘Bitch Ass’ is a reasonable addition to the horror sub-genre of sinister game playing if not an overly successful one. Horror film aficionados will be pleasantly surprised to see that ‘Bitch Ass’ features Tony Todd, who introduces the film in Alfred Hitchcock style and the kills are inventive. However the film’s brief running time and low budget means that it is unfortunately unable to explore its premise and underlying themes in full.

★★ 1/2


Horror, Crime | USA, 2022 | 15 | 19th December 2022 (UK) | Digital HD | Signature Entertainment |Dir. Bill Posley | Teon Kelley, Tunde Laleye, Me’lisa Sellers, Tony Todd, Kelsey Caesar


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