Making a film costs a lot, both literally and figuratively. It costs time, energy, stress, and, of course, some of that cold hard cash. When the cash isn’t there, yet the movie still gets made, the film is almost definitely built upon sacrifice: actors and actresses getting paid the minimum for just a little bit of exposure, writers and directors that go straight from the set to their day job, and a bunch of volunteers that keep everything afloat until the final product is finished. It’s admirable, to stick with a project that may wind up becoming a negative sum game, as most independent films are.
The Boom Boom Girls of Wrestling was completed with a budget of $5,000, and while it may not look like a movie that the Marvel Cinematic Universe may produce, for $5,000, it looks pretty good. It tells the story of a group of amateur female wrestlers, working their way up through the days of grueling training up until their first official wrestling event in Las Vegas. There’s in fighting among the female wrestlers, sleazy promoters, and the bumps and bruises that go with perfecting a routine within the ring.
A lot of time and care goes into the training aspect of the film, which takes up about half the runtime. It goes on a little bit long, but the time and dedication given to this aspect, getting into the nittiest of gritties, does give this film its credibility. It feels like it knows what it’s talking about, and it’s not surprising to learn that writer/director/actress Carolin Von Petzholdt spent some time in the amateur circuit. We get to see what it takes to get the falls just right and what can happen when a punch is pulled a little too late.
If the first half of the film resembles a Rocky montage stretched out to nearly an hour, then the second half looks a lot like a slasher flick cut down to barely half that time. I won’t divulge too much about the second half, but let’s just say that making it to Las Vegas on time becomes the least of their worries. The filmmakers do an okay job with the horror stuff, and the film starts to hit its stride once it gets to this part; I only wish this part was longer. The bodies pile up quick and the end resolves itself at blinding speed; if there were a better balance between the first and second half, this could be a hidden little gem of a slasher. It inhabits a world different enough to separate itself from your other paint-by-numbers gore-fest, it just takes a little too long to get there and doesn’t let it breathe.
Story-wise, it’s all pretty straight forward, but ever-so-often, a story thread pops up that goes nowhere, involving characters that we have no reason to care about. They don’t happen too often nor do they hang around, but it’s enough to slow down the momentum that the film tries to build before the second half. Stories involving voodoo and romantic relationships revolving around minor characters just seem out of place and superfluous.
The most memorable performances happen to be the two antagonists of sorts, as they’re both given the most to work with and seem to be having fun chewing the scenery. Andrew Hamrick plays Richard, more appropriately named Dick, who’s as smarmy as it comes. He’s the Don King of female amateur wrestling, viewing the possibility of a wrestler’s breast implants exploding mid-match as an opportunity for ratings. He’s the guy you love to hate and puts a lot into the role.
Danielle Replogle plays Madison, the resident heel of the Boom Boom Girls, who’s all too ready to play the bad guy once they get to Las Vegas. Her go-to move is the middle finger, which she has ready for anyone that looks at her sideways or just pisses her off, in general. She’s unashamed of who she is and she really sells the role well.
The Boom Boom Girls of Wrestling is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter for distribution. It’s a little uneven, and could use a little extra time in the editing room, but it’s a movie with potential that looks great and has really come together for the smallest of budgets. It’s worth checking out for the completionist horror fan or anyone interested in the little seen world of female amateur wrestling.