SXSW 2022 Review: Bitch Ass

Year: 2022

Runtime: 83 minutes

Directors:  Bill Posley

Writers: Bill Posley and Jonathan Colomb

Cast: Teon Kelley, Tunde Laleye, Me’lisa Sellers, Kelsey Caesaer, Sheaun McKinney, Tony Todd

By Tom Moore

Writer/Director Bill Posley crafts an imperfect crowd-pleaser with his feature directorial debut, “Bitch Ass”(2022), and provides the horror genre with something it lacks and desperately needs, an intriguing and fun modern black slasher.

Posley and fellow co-writer Jonathan Colomb display their love for black horror right in “Bitch Ass’” opening through a delightful opening monologue from legendary scenery-chewer and horror icon Tony Todd. It delivers some worthy nods to classic black horror films like “Blacula” and “Candyman” before delving its own original slasher, the first masked black slasher according to the film, Bitch Ass. At its core, “Bitch Ass” is your prototypical slasher that sees its titular killer hunt down and put his victims in deadly games of survival, for better or worse.

“Bitch Ass” does embody some of the lesser qualities of other slashers in the genre, mainly with its characters and story. Most of its characters are incredibly thin story and personality-wise and honestly, any time Bitch Ass isn’t onscreen, the film just isn’t as fun. The performances aren’t anything to scoff at, but also nothing to admire and the big story it tries to build around its titular killer and the abuse he suffered at a young age that motivates him to kill isn’t all that impactful. It doesn’t really add any strong emotional shades to the character and simply acts as a standard answer to why he kills. “Bitch Ass” is a very standard, low-budget slasher when it comes to story, but that isn’t what makes “Bitch Ass” so special.

Posley knows exactly what makes “Bitch Ass” special and will undoubtedly hook viewers with the film’s incredible style, fun kill concept, and its titular killer’s presence. The design of Bitch Ass, himself, who’s played by Tunde Laleye, is simple, but effective in creating great screen presence. His mask is relatively generic but hides some noticeable scars making viewers only wonder what horrors could be hiding under that mask. Not to mention, he’s just this towering and domineering figure that feels absolutely fearless. Yet, even though his presence is truly haunting his kill methods are a lot more fun since he doesn’t just outwardly kill his victims on the spot.

With his love for board and playground games from his childhood, Bitch Ass instead challenges his victims to games of survival modeled after notable games. From a deadly game of “Operation” to a bloody take on “Connect 4”, the sequences of Bitch Ass challenging his victims to these killer games are a total blast, especially because Bitch Ass isn’t safe. He gives himself the same odds as his opponents and could easily face the same deadly consequences if he loses. This makes the game sequences much more fun and engaging to watch and they’re constantly elevated by the great stylistic storytelling choices that Posley makes.

While his distinct change of the aspect ratio makes things a little confusing early on, everything else he adds is perfect. The cards that pop up highlighting the different players that enter Bitch Ass’ domain and who has been taken out are really cool and the way he turned Bitch Ass’ house into a giant board game by labeling each room someone enters is such a great touch to making Bitch Ass feel completely in control. Even during the games, the frame splits in a way that creates more engaging and intense action that keeps you hooked right up to some of the brutal kills “Bitch Ass” delivers. Sure, sometimes the low-budget rears its head through some of the cheap-looking effects, but it all works super well in creating the kind of fun and creatively inventive horror experience fans of the genre constantly crave.

“Bitch Ass” might not be that next great horror movie, but it is a great addition to the black horror sphere that not only showcases a modern black slasher, but also a fresh vision from Posley. The creative flair and engaging concept Posley brings with Bitch Ass shouldn’t go under-appreciated and is what could easily garner him a strong cult following in the genre.

3 stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s