Horror walks such a thin line between causing genuine fear and being downright comedic and some movies such as “Evil Dead” are both funny while at times scary and unnerving. “The Banana Splits Movie” from 2019 unapologetically is neither scary nor funny.
The Banana Splits was originally a Hanna Barbara live-action kids show like “Sesame Street” or “Teletubbies,” fusing fun mascot characters singing and dancing. The show itself only ran for about two years, and now after several failed reboots and many years on Boomerang, a young director has decided to reboot the show as a horror film franchise.
The plot centers around a family going to see a live taping of “the Banana Splits”show. Things escalate when the animatronic charters learn that their show is canceled and begin murdering adults and taking children to be their captive audience.
Now simply saying the movie was terrible would be disrespectful to a lot of really entertainingly bad movies; the “Banana Splits tra la la la terror” is what happens when trends influence a movie. The best example is the change of the Splits from costumed mascots to deranged animatronics. It feels as though they caught on to the trend of making childhood characters into cold, heartless machines.
The movie visually looks fine, boasting an impressive array of practical effects and sets that at the very least make the film’s one primary location exciting and diverse. Sadly, near the end of the film, these sets are either replaced with drab rooms and hallways or are shot in such low light that while creepy, they lose what made them visually stand out. Sound design for the film is nearly nonexistent, with most of the soundtrack being the show’s theme at various speeds.
The movie does have some hilarious lines and laughably lousy acting. However, credit is due to the child actors who give excellent performances while keeping the film well grounded. The adults in the movie accomplish this. While trying to survive, they also struggle to prevent the children from being traumatized.
While this movie might not be a piece of film gold, who doesn’t like being able to talk over a bad movie from time to time.