Yes, this French movie is actually called Girls With Balls. That’s either the best thing – or worst thing – about this horror-comedy. Netflix released this French riff on ‘hillbilly horror‘ earlier in July. Based on the promotional materials, Girls With Balls is best described as Wrong Turn meets Mean Girls. Tonally, the movie looks to tap into the same vibe as off-the-wall horror comedies like Deathgasm or Tucker and Dale vs Evil. But horror and comedy are difficult genres to mix. So how well does Girls With Balls fare?
After winning a big tournament, all-girls volleyball team, The Falcons, make a wrong turn out in the wilderness. Off-course and lost, the girls and their coach find themselves stranded after their RV breaks down. Things quickly go from bad to worse when The Falcons run afoul of backwoods locals.
Girls With Balls A ‘Hit and Miss’ Blend of Comedy and Horror
Not surprisingly, given its title, Girls With Balls doesn’t take itself seriously. And neither should audiences. Director Olivier Afonso clearly was aiming for the same irreverent tone of Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Deathgasm, and Cabin in the Woods. When the movie opens with a cowboy-hat wearing narrator singing out basic plot point, you know the movie is playing it for laughs. Unfortunately, the humor is extremely broad. More gags fall flat than hit their mark. The Falcons’ oafish coach is intended as comic relief but mostly grates on your nerves. One scene where a wiener dog latches onto the coach’s crotch wouldn’t feel out of place in a low-brow 80’s sitcom. Much of the humor feels too much like effort – Girls With Balls is trying really hard to be edgy. In the end, it just feels very juvenile.
More gags fall flat than hit their mark.
Nothing in the movie is offensive. And it’s certainly not boring. Where Girls With Balls runs into problems is that it’s very late to the party. Hillbilly or ‘Backwoods’ horror has already been satirized. In addition, it doesn’t help that movies like Tucker and Dale vs Evil did a much better job at poking fun of the subject matter. At times, Girls With Balls seems confused with what it’s even targeting. Its hillbilly antagonists aren’t just broadly characterized goofy antagonists. Over the course of the movie, the villains alternate between backwoods cannibals and a strange religious cult with little rhyme or reason. The humor is just all over the place.
Well-Produced Action and Gore Balance Out Some of the Goofiness
While it’s a little overly silly, Girls With Balls is well-produced and liberally dashes some fun CGI gore over its runtime. Afonso shows flashes of technical skill. The movie’s introduction to its volleyball heroines, for example, is a stylish and well-produced segment. Moreover, Afonso balances out several action set-pieces in the movie’s climax that are slickly edited. Horror purists will likely be disappointed with the CGI blood and guts. There’s also nothing that reaches the inventive levels of insanity that movies like The Evil Dead or Deathgasm have achieved. Ultimately, Girls With Balls balances out its goofy humour with workmanlike horror bits.
Likable Characters Almost Elevate Girls With Balls
Yes, Girls With Balls is a predictable rehash of better movies. But screenwriters Afonso and Jean-Luc Cano at least put some thought and effort into The Falcons’ characters. They’re all familiar teen horror tropes – the ‘bitch’, the insecure ‘chubby’ girl, the ‘nice’ blonde-haired girl. All the character conflicts are ripped from just about any teen movie. Will the best friends torn apart by discovered infidelity re-kindle their friendship just before one of them dies? Absolutely. Still the cast is both game and extremely likable. Though Afonso and Cano aren’t entirely successful, they’ve invested some effort into including some character arcs amidst the nonsense. Whether you find yourself invested in any of the characters will entirely depend on your willingness to dismiss the movie’s juvenile humour.
Girls With Balls a Juvenile Mix of Horror and Comedy
Girls With Balls occupies a strange middle ground. No one looking for serious horror and scares will like it. Neither outright awful nor particularly good, Girls With Balls is also not quirky enough to hit that cult movie status. The humor is more juvenile than edgy or irreverent. It’s hard to imagine who the target audience is for this one. Teens or pre-teens at a sleepover may enjoy it. You can certainly find worse in Netflix’s horror catalogue, but that’s not an endorsement.