SXSW 2022: Bill Posley’s ‘Bitch Ass’ (2022) – Movie Review

It’s time for SXSW 2022, horror fam! There are so many cool films being shown this year. One of them that caught my eye was Bill Posley’s Bitch Ass (2022). With a title like that, how could it not? Check out the synopsis:

A gang initiation goes wrong when a group of four recruits break into a house of horror, as they’re all forced to play deadly games for their lives. Win and you live – lose and you die.

Gang initiations, breaking and entering, a house of horror, and deadly board games? Sign me up!

Directed by Bill Posley (Cobra Kai TV series) and co-written by Posley and Jonathan Colomb (Fempire 2021), Bitch Ass stars Tunde Laleye (Black Panther 2018), Teon Kelley (Fish Out Of Water 2021), Me’lisa Sellers (Split 2016), Kelsey Caeser (Socially Awkward TV series), Sheaun McKinney (The Neighborhood TV series), rapper A-F-R-O (The Breaks TV series), Belle Guillory (Surfing the Web 2019), and Candyman’s Tony Todd as Titus Blaq, the curator of this story. The score was composed by Joseph Mohan (Echo 2013) while 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Steven Parker was in charge of the cinematography, and Rylan Rafferty (Fempire 2021) edited the final product.

What Works

We’ve had psycho slashers in the woods, in farmhouses, in suburbia, and even in our dreams. But we haven’t had a new urban hack-and-slash monster since Bernard Rose’s Candyman… until now. Bitch Ass is the best Black slasher villain since Tony Todd’s murdered forbidden lover first graced our screens back in 1992. He’s huge, he’s angry, and he’s twisted enough to play the game until someone dies. And I mean that literally. The guy loves games. I know what you’re thinking. John Kramer has the horror game market cornered. But Bitch Ass is different. He gets his jollies off making his victims play killer versions of table games like Jenga, Connect Four, and Battleship. It’s a bit disturbing to see someone bite it because they lost at some of the most innocent childhood games, but also pretty cool. Also, each room in Bitch Ass’ house is labeled like the spaces in Clue, complete with Zombieland-esque pop-up titles. And each faceoff is preceded by character playing cards being flipped over like the game of War. I love these creative design elements. They make the film stand out all the more.

The acting in Bitch Ass is great, especially from Teon Kelley who played Q, the main character in the story. Q wants to get out of his low income life and go to college, so he concentrates on his grades and staying out of trouble. He also wants to financially support his mom, Marcia (Sellers), and the only way he can see to do that is to join a gang. His struggle with doing what’s right and doing what will help the most is clear on his face. He’s stuck in this situation and is too empathetic to let it all fall by the wayside. Kelley made me believe that he really was going through these struggles. The rest of the cast play their parts well, even if they area bit one note. The innovative cinematography by Steven Parker caught my eye right away. I love his avant-garde style in this film. The editing from Rylan Rafferty is tight and the story clean and easy to follow.

What Doesn’t Work

Although I love the storyline and the direction it took, I just couldn’t get into the actual kills in Bitch Ass, which is pretty disappointing to say the least. Maybe it’s because they were shown in this weird split screen style that didn’t show much of the bloody action. This is unfortunate because death by Connect Four would have been awesome to see. I was also annoyed at the way Tony Todd was cropped in his scenes. For some reason, they cut off the top half of his face and focused more on the center of his chest. There are times when his entire head is offscreen. What a waste of such an iconic and talented actor.

Final Thoughts

Bitch Ass is a bloody, inventive story that surprised me in its creativeness and well told story. Despite some missteps with the kill scenes, the film itself is a bloody good time. The world has a brand new slasher villain, and his name is Bitch Ass.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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