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Cindy Maples scores big with her new horror comedy “E-BOWLA”, a riotously fun and funny film about the dangers of bowling, babes and buffet pizza.

Last month, we were excited to share with you the official teaser trailer for  the new horror comedy short E-BOWLA, from Carriage House Productions and Director Cindy Maples. The short just had its World Premiere on Friday, April 27th, at Echo Lanes in Henderson, KY (where the film was shot). Those lucky enough to attend got the first glimpse of the film, along with a special 30 minute behind the scenes “making of E-BOWLA” featurette. Some of the stars of the film were also on hand to sign copies of the official movie poster.

When we first heard of this film, we immediately fell in love with the concept. E-BOWLA actually started out as a joke between Maples and her husband Rusty James (who also stars in the short), but it has turned into one of her favorite projects to date. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to screen the film ahead of its festival run.

The short comedy/horror film focuses on ladies night at the local bowling alley and four longtime friends who decide that it’s the perfect place to enjoy their one night a year away from their wives. Unfortunately, the ladies and the pizza buffet have other ideas.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a great concept for a feature or short that fell depressingly short of its potential. Far too often, the poster art is perfect and the trailer promises something truly great…but the actual film leaves you feeling hoodwinked. Rest assured, this is not one of those films.

At just under 9 minutes, E-BOWLA fully delivers on its promise of a funny, witty and entertaining film that will have you laughing and, if you’re like me, cheering at the wonderful finale. 

It’s difficult to truly talk about what makes this short so great without giving away too much. And I really don’t want to spoil the fun. But I will say it delivers a very clever twist that is extremely satisfying — especially given how effectively Maples crafts the four friends as real cads, giving us a distasteful look at very stereotypically male behavior. She brilliantly sets them up, and we can’t wait for her to knock them down!

Will Chase, Rusty James, Leo Kempf, and Paul Nicely deliver solid performances as the group of friends looking to score at the bowling alley. They have a very natural onscreen chemistry, and it really looked like they were having a great time making this film. Although their behavior was intentionally off putting, the performances felt believable — like the viewer was being given a secret peak into how some men behave during ‘bro’ time.

The bowling names each of the men has given themselves are also quite comical. Will Chase, dubbed ‘Big Thumper’, plays the alpha male leader of the group. Rusty James is ‘Wrecking Ball’, who declares that he “needs a night in the gutter”. Paul Nicely is ‘Spare Bear’ and makes comments like, “I’d love to split that,” when scoping out the attractive women at the bowling alley. Then there’s the adorably awkward Leo Kemp as Levi Bruckmann, the only member of the group without a ridiculous moniker and clearly the odd man out.

There’s a fantastic scene at the beginning where the men first enter the bowling alley full of beautiful women. The sexy soundtrack kicks in, the men unbutton their shirts and remove their jackets with tremendous bravado, and they move in slow motion into the alley full of confidence and swagger. As Big Thumper, Wrecking Ball and Spare Bear strut forward like lions stalking their prey, Levi trips over his own two feet. He then awkwardly bounces back up as the other three keep walking, totally oblivious to him. It’s absolutely hilarious and brilliantly sets up who these four characters are.

Gina Moore is fantastic as Iona, an employee at the bowling alley who has a rather funny exchange with the men at the start of the short. As the men try to charm her and impress her with their “shoe” sizes, she quickly ascertains exactly why they just happen to be there on Ladies Night and what their true intentions are.

The beautiful and talented singer Ingrid Michaelson also makes a fun cameo in a role that proves why it’s never a good idea to talk to a girl’s chest instead of looking her in the eyes.

While there’s plenty of relatable humor and eye candy for the men to enjoy, this is definitely a “girl power” film that women will truly appreciate on multiple levels. Without being remotely preachy or taking itself too seriously, this short manages to send a message about objectifying women. The men in this film treat the ladies like pieces of meat, and it’s delightfully fun to see the tables get turned on them in a most unexpected way.

The film has already been submitted to over 30 film festivals all over the world, and we definitely recommend you try to catch a screening if you get the chance. 

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