Billy Club (2014)

I love baseball. Of the major American sports, Baseball is by far my favorite (followed by Football, Basketball and Hockey...although the last two can be interchangeable depending upon my mood). As a New York Mets fan, I know how much pain the sport can deliver. The hurt. The agony. Luis fucking Castillo!!!!....Sorry. I get fired up. But that horror aside, there are not too many horror films that center around baseball (remake of the Bad News Bears not withstanding). Enter Billy Club.

Fifteen years ago, a little league team was rocked by the brutal murder of two players and it's head coach. The guilty party, Billy, was caught red handed and sent to the local mental institution to deal with his issues. As the anniversary approaches, the members of the team start to drift together, reminiscing about that season and the loss of their team mates and coaches. But when team members
start getting murdered again, the reunion suddenly becomes a lot more sinister. As the body count starts climbing, it becomes clear that Billy has joined the reunion, but, unfortunately for the grieving team, things aren't what they seem.

I know what you are thinking, gimmicky premise, unfortunately punny title, inexperienced actors, this is going to be a mess. Luckily for us, it's not. Billy Club is a damn good horror film with some interesting comedic elements thrown in and a twist, that while it's certainly something we've all seen before, is fitting and well executed.

Written and Directed by Drew Rosas and Nick Sommers, the first thing that stands out about the film is the visual flair that they bring to the film. Set in the mid 90's, the film eschews the aesthetic of that period and takes it back a decade earlier to recapture what we all loved about the stalk and slash films of the mid-80's. The film could have been presented as a paint by numbers shot/payoff, typical low budget slasher, but thanks to the unique qualities brought by the directing team, Billy Club remains visually interesting throughout the length of the film.

The visual template of the film is adeptly complimented by the balance the script achieves between horror, comedy, and absurdity. The film is funny, especially early. The script gives us easily likeable characters and develops them very quickly, something many horror films try to do, but take forever when trying. This lets the action develop very quickly with characters like and have an interest in, almost immediately.

It's not all wine and roses (or even Guns 'n Roses). Billy Club is not a perfect film. While the script comes together early, there are some cringe worthy lines, especially at during the early bars scenes. Same can be said for the otherwise pretty good performances. The film starts out rough in the acting department, but eventually settles in and more than makes up for those early pock marks.

To call Billy Club a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. For the reasons I listed above (punny title - which I still hate...etc) I was not expecting much. But Billy Club stepped up the the plate and drove an 0-2 slider to the warning track for a triple. It's not a great film, but it certainly is worthy of a watch when it debuts on VOD or DVD later this month.

**** stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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