Girls With Balls sees a volleyball team, The Falcons, stranded in the woods of rural France. They soon begin to be hunted down by the usual insane, cannibal cult; but this is far from a usual version of those movies. A powerful message of sisterhood and a heavy dose of female bad-assery make this film hard to forget.
Grimmfest 2018 held the European Premiere of Girls With Balls and what a wonderfully entertaining end to the festival’s opening night it was. Director Olivier Afonso immediately sets the very comedic tone of this French-language film by having a fourth-wall-breaking, guitar-playing narrator sing a hilariously blunt song about the volleyball team and the perils that will befall them during the film. He also at one point demands the audience to turn off their cell phones. This lets you know exactly what you’re in for for the next 77 minutes.
The highlight of this film is the dynamic between all the Falcons, portraying a very true to life sports team. There may be a little tension between team members sometimes, but with a simple shout of “GO FALCONS!”, the team always comes back together.
We all know how films like this play out and there are far more interesting things to discuss than the plot, despite it having a few entertaining reveals dotted throughout. The insane “hunters” often feel like every other insane cult we’ve ever seen on film. However, their leader (Denis Lavant) does give an impressively intense and sadistic performance. The violence that the cult inflict upon the Falcons is pleasantly brutal and gory enough to satisfy any horror fan, but the real crowd-pleasing scenes are where the Falcons come together to inflict plenty of brutal violence themselves; sometimes even using their volleyballs!
This little sub-genre of horror is always at risk of having films that just depict nameless girls running around screaming, being picked off one by one. Girls With Balls at its heart and at its strongest is a movie about sisterhood. It is this that makes the film such an entertaining one and such a worthwhile one.
Perhaps the strongest performance in the film may come from the most unlikeable member of the Falcons, Morgane (Manon Azem). Constantly appearing to believe she is the strongest member on the team, Morgane is portrayed as very self-centred. While being an individual is never a bad thing, when you’re in a film about dedication to a team, you’re not going to come off very well. And this is before she really does become evil.
Olivier Afonso spoke before the screening of the film at Grimmfest about how he finds female-centred stories so much more interesting and complex. He mentioned how he wanted to make a very fun to watch and funny film while never losing sight of the feminist message he wanted to portray. Safe to say that he succeeded.
Girls With Balls is a black comedy above anything else and this only adds to its entertainment factor. Some of the scenes of violence are so absurd and ridiculous, but because it fits so perfectly with the tone that was set right from the first minute, it always works.
A film with such a positive, powerful message and so much entertainment value is always well worth watching. If you can handle the violence you know you’re going to get with these types of movies, you will have a lot of fun with this one!
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