Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.
I remember growing up watching The Banana Splits re-runs on Boomerang and VHS copies that my grandparents had taped from TV back in the 70’s and 80’s. I specifically remember the animated segment “Arabian Knights”, which is pretty dated for 2019 standards. But when you’re a kid none of that stuff matters, especially when you’re a child of the 90’s but a product of the 80’s. It was pretty late into my childhood when I discovered the Banana Splits on Boomerang but I still enjoyed staying up until 2 AM to checkout the cartoons that I used to watch with my grandparents.
With that in mind, I also want to mention that I’ve never played a Five Nights at Freddy’s game ever. I say this because I heard that this film was supposed to be a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie or this films writer had beat the Five Nights at Freddy’s writer to the punch in terms of a similar idea or plot-line. I’ve read some mixed information on that so either way, I’m happy with The Banana Splits idea because it’s totally Bananas (haha).
If you’re not familiar with the synopsis of THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE, it is as follows: Harley’s parents surprise him on his birthday with tickets to see the Banana Splits. What should have been a fun-filled birthday celebration quickly becomes a blood bath out of any child’s worst nightmare.
The film is focused predominately on one family which includes brothers Austin and Harley, Mother Beth and Stepfather Mitch as well as Harley’s friend Zoe. There were other supporting characters that felt included just to be fodder for the plot as you don’t really care about them. In fact, I felt sheer disgust towards some of them due to their actions and/or shit personalities. However, as I said, they seem to be this way on purpose. The other characters include an Instagram influencer couple, Thadd and Poppy, who were the absolute worst; an aspiring child actor, Parker, and her stage obsessed father; and Paige, the page for Taft studios, who’s actually the only normal person. That said, all those aside from the main family felt like replaceable characters. Not because their acting was poor but because they all just felt like plot devices. Bad people that are easy to kill off to move the plot forward. Even Beth felt like such a weak character until a change came into play midway through the movie. Eric Bauza, however, did a fantastic job voicing those of the Splits that did speak, mainly Fleegle and Drooper.
I don’t want to dive too far into specifics as to why the Splits turn murderous, but, I will say that they are robots and that the show continued to run since it’s debut in 1969. This was a concept that I had a difficult time accepting but hey, it’s a movie. That actually brings me to my next gripe with this film. I thought that this was going to be based in the late 60’s or early 70’s and that the Splits were just going to be costumed killers. I love a period piece and fully anticipated this to go that direction, but I suppose the actual film plot and time period makes it more reminiscent of Five Nights at Freddy’s for fans of the game.
This film seemed to rely on practical effects for the most part which, if you’ve read my previous reviews, you know I love. So there was major points from me to the effects department. Having characters that were easy to hate made the kills that much more fun with one kill, in particular, involving an individual being sawed in half resulting in exposed innards sloppily spilling out onto the floor. I love stuff like that so I was totally digging in on it. There were also a few scenes that made me cringe, one that comes to mind specifically involved falling onto already broken fingers.
The kills had a lot of comedy elements and to be honest I don’t think this movie really took itself seriously. From the actors to the kills, everything felt really loose and pretty goofy. Although, with a concept like this you kind of have to not take it seriously and have fun with it. It follows the many genre tropes that have been set in place since the ’80s and it doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to carbon copy slashers. I respect Danishka Esterhazy for going the route she did with this movie.
If you put this movie on looking for something that’s deep or innovative in terms of horror movies you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If you’re looking for something fun to watch with your friends while you’re having a few drinks THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE is totally for you!