The Banana Splits was a kids tv show from 1968 that was rerun around the world. Now the franchise takes a step forward in a bold new direction with the characters we once loved moving on from their musical roots to become killers!
This is a hard one to review as the film has everything you would expect from a horror including a wide range of characters, some gruesome deaths and a nice ending to set up a franchise. yet something was missing.
The movie follows a young boy named Harley (played by the amazing Finlay Wotjak-Hissong) is a huge fan of The Banana Splits. On his birthday his parents Beth (Dani Kind) and her (cheating) husband Mitch (Steve Lund) take Harley and his older brother Austin (Romeo Carere), go to a live taping of the The Banana Splits at Taft Studios. Harley is more than excited at meeting his heroes.
On the day of their tapings the show is cancelled making their show the last one for The Banana Splits. It is then revealed The Splits are all robots who are upset they are cancelled and go on a killing spree!
What makes the movie is Harley’s innocence throughout the movie. Finlay plays the character in a way that hints Harley is somewhere on the Autistic Spectrum with unembarrassed love of The Banana Splits, his wand, and his angel wings. As events unfold he manages to shine that innocence out across the blood soaked canvas of the screen. This juxtaposition is what saves the film and I believe should have been explored more through the script.
The rest of the movie plays out as a by the numbers horror with some awesome imaginative deaths that whilst gruesome and graphic, feel like highlights linked together with a rushed script.
Verdict: 5 out of 10. A great idea that fails to live up to expectations. The film is saved by Finlay Wotjak-Hissong. Hopefully if a sequel is made it will learn from what happened here. It is almost as if this is the pilot episode that will grow into something bigger and better. I hope it does.