Saturday, October 22, 2022

#2,845. Benny Loves You (2019) - Spotlight on England


In an early scene from writer / director Karl Holt’s Benny Loves You, the lead character Jack (played by Holt himself), who still lives at home, is celebrating his 35th birthday with his parents (Catriona McDonald and Greg Page). Unfortunately, mom and dad have a little… accident. Actually, it’s not so little; when Jack finds them, Dad is lying dead on the floor and Mom, her entire face impaled on toothpicks, is about to draw her final breath.

Played for laughs, this is nonetheless a gruesome scene, but by the time the movie is over, we’ll realize mom and dad got off easy! Filled to its breaking point with blood, guts, and gore, Benny Loves You is as gross as it is funny.

Ten months after his parents’ demise, Jack, a talentless toy designer, is on the verge of losing both his house and his job. His humorless boss Ron (James Parsons) demotes him, cutting his salary by 33%, and the rep with his bank (Greg Barnett) tries to “help” Jack… by demanding he pay four times his usual amount to catch up, or risk foreclosure on his childhood home.

Determined to finally grow up and take control of his life, Jack throws away all of his old toys, including his beloved stuffed animal Benny, who has been his best friend since he was a kid.

But Benny isn’t going to take this lying down. In an amazing turn of events, the stuffed creature springs to life, and starts tormenting Jack night and day. What’s more, Benny is determined to kill anyone who stands between him and his “best pal”, usually in as grisly a fashion as possible!

A goofy but oh-so-fun horror / comedy, Benny Loves You will have you howling at Benny’s antics. Repeating “Benny loves you” over and over, the foot-and-a-half tall stuffed toy brings the pain, butchering his victims in a manner that would impress Jason Voorhees. David, the bank rep, is the first to incite Benny’s wrath, and when the smoke clears, Jack has to dispose of entrails and a severed head before mopping up gallons of blood.

Yet as violent as Benny can be, watching him bounce around the house, a smile plastered on his face, will have you in stitches. In fact, Benny, despite being a homicidal maniac, is arguably the film’s most endearing character! With its story of abandoned toys getting their revenge on the owners that discard then, Benny Loves You gets crazier by the minute, and it’s the film’s human characters - Jack included – who feel more like caricatures than real people. Jack’s arch-nemesis at work, the kiss-ass Richard (George Collie), is an insufferable prick throughout the movie, and two policemen investigating the rash of recent disappearances aren’t even given names; they’re simply listed in the credits as “Good Cop” (Darren Benedict) and “Bad Cop” (Anthony Styles).

If you’re a fan of gore and don’t mind comedy with your horror (and in this movie, the comedy takes center stage), then Benny Loves You is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Rating: 8 out of 10

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