“The Banana Splits Movie” is one of those concept-heavy movies that works in some ways, but falls short on many, many others. First, the good: Director Danishka Esterhazy does a terrific job with sets and frames, and she has a knack for crafting interesting situations. The movie’s concept – a sort of meta adaptation of the real-life 1968 show presented as a horror movie – is intriguing and rife with potential, but it’s clear that Esterhazy is held back by the evidently shoestring budget. Unfortunately, not much else works due to those budgetary restrictions: A number of set-ups (like a re-purposed obstacle course on the set of “The Banana Splits” that takes a deliriously twisted turn) end up falling short because the audience is constantly distracted by the obvious budgetary limits. The characters are barely developed and the acting is poor, while the screenplay is so superficial and rushed that it gets frustrating after a while, because there’s so much potential for a fun, entertaining and scary movie. The finished product is slightly de-stabilizing because the tone feels off somehow thanks to the aforementioned narrative deficiencies, but it’s got lots of chutzpah, that’s for sure.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)