Danishka Esterhazy’s direction is solid. She generates a decent number of scares and uses the ridiculous sets to delightful effect. Which directly brings up the special effects, costumes, and make-up teams. The Banana Splits themselves are very well detailed and move very convincingly. The shocking amount of carnage and bloodshed all look impressive, and not as cartoony as one might initially think.
While everyone in the entire cast is excellent, it is Bauza’s voice work as the Banana Splits character that sells them as horrifying threats. Romeo Carere as Austin steals every scene he’s in. He proves disarmingly sweet and plays the no-confidence angle with enough charm that it isn’t annoying. For his role, Wojtak-Hissong has energy and optimism to spare, making it easy to like Harley.
But there are a few issues with The Banana Splits Movie. Chief among them being Mitch. He talks down to everyone and is continually trying to escape his family to get work done. A movie like this needs to fill its body count, and that is fine. But because of how Mitch relates to the main characters, he needs to be more than an unlikeable oaf.
“…directly address turning the Banana Splits into something ‘edgy’…”
There needs to be something there for the audience to understand what Beth initially saw in him. It is nowhere to be found though, so the viewer questions this relationship the entire time. That causes some early scenes hard to swallow.
Then there’s the cause of Bingo, Fleegle, Snorky, and Drooper’s desires to indiscriminately kill. It simply doesn’t work. The idea is not bad, but there is not enough focus on the turn for it make sense. As it plays out, it feels rushed, which is not a good thing when it comes to the titular characters’ motivations.
The Banana Splits Movie proves that rebranding these beloved characters as horror icons works pretty well. The acting and direction will keep you engrossed for the entire runtime. While the screenplay hits a few snags, it works more often than not. If you are a fan of the Syfy channel original movies, you’ll have a blast.
The Banana Splits Movie will premiere on Saturday, October 12, 2019, at 9 PM; only on Syfy.
"…shocking amount of carnage and bloodshed"