Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Benny Loves You (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Benny Loves You (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Length:  1h 34min
Rating: TV-MA
Director: Karl Holt
Writers: Karl Holt
Actors: Anthony Styles, Bella Munday, Claire Cartwright, Darren Benedict, David Wayman, George Collie, James Parsons, Jennifer Healy, Karl Holt, Lydia Hourihan
IMDb Blurb: Jack, a man desperate to improve his life throws away his beloved childhood plush, Benny. It's a move that has disastrous consequences when Benny springs to life with deadly intentions.
Cat’s Point of View:
I ran across Benny Loves You one day while searching for something to watch with my daughter and their significant other, and immediately knew this movie would either be awesomely bad or horribly bad. There wasn’t going to be any in-between there. Watching the trailer pretty much sealed the deal that we needed to watch this fresh take on what appeared to be murderous muppets immediately. I was crossing my fingers that it would fall squarely into the “so-bad-its-good” category.

I am happy to advise that I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a while. It was worth every moment of face-palming and eye-rolling that came with the experience as a package deal (and there weren’t too many, really). 
Benny Loves You is another wonderful example of a film experience where the creator knew exactly how bonkers their concept and even execution of the story was going to be - and leaned into it with gusto. 

Seriously, consider a movie about that beloved little squeaky-voiced Elmo doll going on a jealousy-fueled murder-spree. Of course, this production had absolutely nothing to do with the educational and wholesome Sesame Street (1969-) character or really even any true muppets. The visual was still strikingly similar enough that it only added to the “that’s so wrong, it’s hilarious” aspect of the movie. 

We all have had that one toy we were given when we were very little that will always hold a special place in our hearts. Some of us are better about letting such go as we get older. I never really got rid of any of mine, but I did pass them along to my daughter when she was little. For some of us, our favorite stuffie could very well still be capable of chasing the nightmares away. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as the rest of a person’s life is generally productive and at the very least self-sufficient. 

This story explored the notion of those very toys taking umbrage at being cast aside in favor of “growing up” and proving themselves just as magical as we always imagined them to be - but their new version of playtime includes chaotic murderous mayhem. 

Clearly, Benny Loves You was made with a shoestring indie budget, but I honestly didn’t care. Production made great use of everything at their disposal, and I think that ultimately it worked in their favor. I don’t think this story would have landed the same way with shiny CGI movement effects and the like. It was really a stroke of brilliance to have the toy’s movement mimic what it would look like if a child was actually playing with it. The imagery leaned into the campy fun without becoming too cheesy in the process. 

Writer and director Karl Holt (Eddie Loves You, Negative Image, The Pandemic Anthology) clearly made this as a passion project. Not only did it expand from his first credited film short from 2006, he put in quite a bit of time wearing all the important hats. Filming for Benny Loves You wrapped in 2015, but it didn’t release until 2019 because Holt was editing, scoring, and adding the VFX himself. I’m eager to see what Holt does next, and I’m hoping that he continues to bring us the much-needed laughter.

Benny Loves You is quite silly, but gloriously so; and I wouldn’t mind watching it again and again as I ensnare as many friends as possible into watching it with me so I can spread the hilarity.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 54%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – 6.0/10
IMDB Score – 5.6/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5

P.S. - There is a post-credits scene that ties up a loose end from the movie. 
Movie Trailer:

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