As a kid, I was a big fan of The Banana Splits. I would catch the reruns of it all the time on TV and I loved it. Nothing brought me more happiness than to sing along with that awesome theme:
"One banana, two banana, three banana, four
Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Coming on to bring you the Banana Splits show
Tra la la, la la la la, tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la, tra la la, la la la la..."
Hell, I still love it and watch it now. Such a great children's show. So color me surprised when not only was it announced that they would get their own feature film adaptation, but that it was going to be a Rated R horror film.
WHHAAATT??? One of my favorite kid shows being turned into a horror movie??? At first, I was like:
But then, I was like:
"This might turn out ok." So I anxiously awaited the day until I could finally see. And then that day came. But, would it actually be ok, or would it be a bummer? Let's find out, Shall we?
"A boy named Harley and his family (brother Austin, mother Beth, and father Mitch) attend a taping of The Banana Splits TV show, which is supposed to be a fun-filled birthday for young Harley and business as usual for Rebecca, the producer of the series. But things take an unexpected turn -- and the body count quickly rises. Can Harley, his mom and their new pals safely escape?"
This was... surprisingly a lot of fun! I really enjoyed this! A gory, spooky horror movie that's also a lot of fun. And when I say gory, I mean GORY! But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let's break the movie down first and save the juicy bits for later.
First, The Cast: Everybody in the main cast is so engaging and wonderful to watch. Especially the main family, with the standouts being Dani Kind as Beth, a mother who just wanted to give her son the best birthday ever and now has to deal with deadly obstacles to save her family, and Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, who is so adorable, and completely believable as Harley, a boy who is witnessing his childhood shatter before his very eyes.
The story: it's a fairly odd thing. When this was first announced, I saw a lot of people compare it to the video game series Five Nights at Freddy's. Upon doing research (I had never heard of FNaF before), I realized that yes, both stories were similar. Both have to do with protagonists trying to survive against murderous animatronic characters made up as cute animals, but since I have no connection to FNaF at all, I had no problem whatsoever with the similarities. Sorry.
The direction: Kudos to Danishka Esterhazy, the director behind the movie, for injecting it with such a stylish, richly creepy atmosphere and tension. She takes advantage of the setting so well. The sparseness of the studio gives everything an ultra creepy vibe that kinda reminded me of The Twilight Zone episode "The After Hours". Bravo, Mrs. Esterhazy. Bravo.
The Carnage: Let me tell you... this movie may have Banana Splits in the title, but that extra chunky red sauce you're seeing sure isn't strawberry! Good lord, is this thing messy. We get decapitation, bisection, burning, head crushing, body crushing, death by all day sucker (I'm not joking), just to name a few. Quite simply, the works! The splatter of red matter in this one is beautiful!
Any issues? The death scenes were a tad too spaced out. There were a couple of moments where I started to say "Ok, what's going on here?" Then, as if the movie heard me, another gruesome death happened, and I was like "Thank you!"
All in all, this was a very enjoyable horror flick that I would recommend to not only to real horror fans, but fans of the banana splits as well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be patiently awaiting the next adaptation: Sesame Street of Death!