Friends Till The End
Who would have thought that a blend of two opposite genres would be the foundation for so many classic movies, horror and comedy! Now chances are this genre sprung to life by mistake as, by their nature, budget and general backgrounds, a lot of old school horror carry with them a degree of comedy by today’s standards. Over the years we have been treated to some absolute classics from Evil Dead to Shaun of the Dead.
Now in steps a new contender, Benny Loves You, a British horror-comedy from writer and director Karl Holt that wears its influences clearly on its sleeve. In true slasher fashion, the movie opens with a kill to get things going, we witness a girl giving her mother a hard time by being a complete brat. Come bedtime, things take a sinister turn as her teddy bear comes to life and things go pear-shaped from there.
We then cut to our “hero” Jack, a pampered thirty-five-year-old living with his parents and failing to achieve anything in his career and social life. After his parents meet an untimely yet entertaining death Jack’s life goes from bad to worse as he struggles to keep up mortgage payments and hold onto his job. Using some self-help tapes he attempts to refocus his life by throwing out all his childish things and becoming a professional.
Unfortunately one of the items he decides to part with is Benny, a toy from his childhood that kept the monsters at bay. Benny has been his best friend all his life and doesn’t take kindly to being discarded and somehow comes to life to be Jack’s friend till the end. What follows is a series of gruesome murders at the hands of Benny who seems hell-bent on continuing his mission of keeping Jack safe from anyone who may wish harm on him or worse, steal his affection away from Benny, something that doesn’t bode well for a new love interest in Jack’s life.
Benny Loves You is a love letter to the slasher genre with a heavy dose of slapstick comedy thrown in. The results are somewhat mixed in this case as the film takes a while to gain any real traction and never manages to commit to a particular flow. After the intro, we had to sit through about twenty minutes of sequences to bring us up to speed with Jack’s lifestyle and situation but unfortunately, he is just not a very likeable character which makes it hard to invest in his story.
There are a series of side characters that come and go but most tend to overstay their welcome on screen with the exception of Jack’s workplace nemesis who has a strange obsession with Prince! Obviously, the real star of the show is Benny himself, the little red doll that is a cross between Elmo and Chucky. At first, we thought he was going to be a bit too annoying but actually turned out to be an endearing entity despite being psychotically temperamental, but as any cat owner will tell you, it just gives them character.
Obviously, Benny Loves You didn’t have a Hollywood budget but despite some ropey scenes, the effects were quite impressive in places. Like with most modern movies, bad CGI sticks out like a sore thumb and that cant be escaped here but some of the excessive gore and basic movements of Benny were enjoyable in that old school style of Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi classics. Whether viewers will enjoy this one will be greatly determined by their preference for comedy, for the most part, it felt forced and a bit too obvious as if it was British humour being tailored for an American audience which took away from the charm that ran through the core plot.
Benny Loves You is the sort of movie that is enjoyable if you have had about ten beers and are watching with friends but struggles to deliver an experience that can be enjoyed otherwise. We love to see new directors hitting the scene and bringing us some new horror movies but for us personally, this one missed the mark. You can watch Benny Loves You in selected theatres May 7, On-Demand May 11 and on Blu-ray June 8.
Review copy provided