The Banana Splits – 2019

Director Danishka Esterhazy
Screenplay Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas
Starring Dani Kind, Steve Lund, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Sara Canning, Eric Bauza

If ever there was a horror film to fit the phrase “standard fare” it’s this reinvention of the late ’60’s kids show into a horror mediocre-piece. I loved this show as a kid when it was reruns after school. Although I knew there were people in the outfits of Snorky, Fleegle, Bingo and Drooper, they still kind of scared me. They must have scared others, too.

Someone bought the rights after many years on the shelf, then they hired some average writers, actors, and director, and here we have it: mechanized robot versions of the characters that hunt down unwary and unworthy adults and kill them as terrified kids are forced to watch.

There has to be a story, though…right? There is an outline of one. Little Harley Williams (Wojtak-Hissong) is a big fan of the Banana Splits television show. His mom gets this tickets to the show. He, his half-brother, a skeptical friend and his philandering father also go to what turns out to be the last show.

From here we get a mad robot maker, greedy executives, annoying fans and other assorted innocents. They are chased around the confines of an old studio being poked, prodded, sliced and diced until time runs out.

The effects are about what one would expect for slightly below average gore. There is absolutely nothing that stands out after the shock value of seeing icons of a suburban childhood ravage through cardboard characters wears off. The willing suspension of disbelief of seeing these mascots so clearly occupied by people as animitrons gone bad is a hard sell. Especially when they dispatch actors we’ve not seen before, and likely will not see again.

Still, there is no way in hell I could have gone without seeing this film, for good or ill. I won’t remember it, even if I ever find a way to watch the original series again. It is a good idea, executed in the most average way.

(**1/2 out of *****)


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