Courtesy SXSW

BITCH ASS, directed by Bill Posley, premiered at SXSW and did a great job building atmospheric chills and comedy (emphasis on the comedy). There are moments that don’t work like poor fight choreography, but BITCH ASS is funny, creepy at times, with a heartfelt story at its core. The film is about four gang initiates tasked with robbing a local house for their gang initiation. Unfortunately, Bitch Ass, a supposed urban legend, resides there and requires the four play games to live. Despite the low-budget quality, BITCH ASS shines and would be even more entertaining watching with friends.

The main character, Q (Teon Kelly), is part of the gang of initiates but also dreams of going to college to become a doctor. However, he is a kid and his mom, Marisa (Me’Lisa Sellers), is a single working parent, so the goal is out of reach without a financial windfall or scholarship. So Q hopes to join the gang to help financially. The acting is not the best, but this film reminds me of movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show. The point is the journey the story takes you on and the acting is intentionally dramatic, as is the music.

The story does entail abuse and bullying, and the disastrous effects both can have on people. I liked the flashbacks to the past because it shows young love and the toxic aspects realistically. The old “if you love me, you’ll do this for me” that girls especially fall victim to has long-reaching ramifications here. The villain, Bitch Ass, is not mean for the sake of meanness either; the trauma from his past continues to have a hold on him. I did not like the relationship dynamics between Marisa and Spade (Sheaun McKinney) as adults either. He is toxic and violent toward women, so watching Marisa’s warmth toward him made me angry, and I am unsure why they felt the need to move in that direction for Marisa.

Regardless of the serious subject matter, it’s clear BITCH ASS does not take itself seriously. The film is fun, with laughter and the occasional jaw-dropping moment. My favorite aspect of the film is the texts showing which room one of the four are in and the playing cards for each introducing the next game. That gave me Zombieland vibes. The games are easy to recognize, just deadlier versions with different names. I wonder if the name change was because Bitch Ass crafted them or because naming the actual games in the film would present a legal issue. Either way, I am here for it. The narrating in the beginning and end also remind me of Tales From The Crypt, while the dramatic music gives Tales From The Darkside feels; if they can improve with each film, I would love to see this as a horror series with Tony Todd as the host, Titus Darq.

Tony Todd still has the voice to chill all voices. His voice and the music gave it a dramatic, eerie opening effect. Then the introduction of Bitch Ass is hilarious because the scene is that bad. When Bitch Ass strikes this man a couple of times, not only does the hit not connect, but the man hollers, “You slapped my f-ing tooth out.” That let me know immediately that this movie would be ridiculous. What surprised me the most was some of the scenes and ending—in part thanks to the music—left me feeling unnerved.

BITCH ASS may not have all the parts to make a great film, but this is a film I would rewatch with friends and family. The director held my interest even with some goofy practical effects. The film resides in the realm of Sleepaway Camp or Demons. BITCH ASS is zany, horror, slasher fun. Bill Posley needs a larger budget because I would love a horror film from him that inspires nightmares.

BITCH ASS had its World Premiere on March 14, 2022, at SXSW.

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