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Monday, March 14, 2022

‘Bitch Ass’ SXSW Review – New Masked Killer Creatively Plays With the Slasher Formula

The conventional slasher formula is simple; a killer, usually masked, embarks on a murder spree, picking their targets off one by one in a variety of ways until a final confrontation with a survivor who’ll outlast them. Bitch Ass adheres to the tried-and-true slasher setup, transporting it instead to an urban setting with untraditional characters. Its gleeful sense of fun and creativity outweighs its constraints.

Bitch Ass opens with Tony Todd, playing himself, as a Tales from the Crypt-like curator and host to introduce the tale. It sets up the potential for a brand-new cinematic anthology, but more importantly, it instills the tone. Bitch Ass might carve up some kills and touch on serious subject matter, but it’s out to deliver an entertaining time most of all.

Todd tells of the eponymous masked killer, a recluse who’s created his own house of horrors after falling victim to a horrendous gang initiation ritual as a teen. Bitch Ass (Tunde Lelaye) now tasks those who enter with a deadly game of survival, inspired by the board games that triggered his bullying. Those who fail to win the game lose their lives. That’s terrible news for the new group tasked with entering his home as part of their gang initiation.

Working from a script he co-wrote with Jonathan Colomb, director Bill Posley demonstrates a strong eye for style and visual flair. The innovative ways that Posley presents the game-within-a-game scenario imbues a larger scale and scope to a smaller feature and goes far in maintaining the sense of unhinged fun. Posley uses board game imagery, art, and animation to give a sense of layout and the unwitting player’s movement on the killer’s board. The commitment to the board game theme permeates throughout, both in the finer details of the production design and the kill pieces, each inspired by classic games.

The simple, straightforward premise makes character and narrative flaws more apparent. The total commitment to the board game theme and the tender relationship between Q (Teon Kelley) and his mother Marsia (Me’lisa Sellers) anchors the film when its rougher edges show. In true slasher style, many of the supporting characters are fodder for the kill count and lack depth. It’s clear that Q, a college hopeful, is our Final Guy, and Marsia’s ties to the past feel a little contrived even if they ensure the theme of trying to improve one’s lot in life despite constant economic obstacles. It may play out predictably, but their heartfelt bond and Posley’s more lighthearted approach ultimately works.

Bitch Ass feels like a retro slasher that you’d discover late night on cable or the shelves of a video store, where’d it’d discover and amass a cult following. It doesn’t deviate from the familiar formula at all. Still, Posley’s clever direction, a strong sense of style, and an entertaining twist to a new masked killer’s choice of weaponry make for an infectious time that’ll leave you curious to see whatever tales of terror Tony Todd may have in his collection.

Bitch Ass made its World Premiere at SXSW.

The post ‘Bitch Ass’ SXSW Review – New Masked Killer Creatively Plays With the Slasher Formula appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3705454/bitch-ass-review-sxsw/

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