Benny Loves You is a horror comedy that revisits the killer toy sub genre. These are extremely difficult movies to pull off. The laughs tend to come easy; the terror revolves around a murderous doll. Its when the film is supposed to get scary that things get a little dicey. The story is usually so ridiculous the scariest moments are funny at best, silly at worst.
Jack (writer-director Karl Holt) is a mid thirties toy designer who still lives at home. After his parents die, he is forced to sell the family home. This includes throwing out his childhood possessions. Tossing away his plush Benny has deadly consequences when the talking toy comes back to life. Benny is not quite ready to move on with his life.
Benny rightfully gets top billing and is the standout of the film. The character is consistently entertaining. Whether he is violently murdering another victim or cheerfully hanging out with Jack, there is a charm in these moments. It may be how much he truly loves Jack, but there is a winsome quality to him. Part of the reason he becomes the easy to root for is by default, but there is the same charisma seen in iconic horror movie villains.
Benny Loves You does not focus on characters, however. This is a movie that almost seems fixated with gore. There are some scenes that will impress fans of over the top violence, but it comes at the lack of character development. That may be what Holt is shooting for. The B-horror classics of the 1980s are not lauded for their great stories, but the fun casts. Benny Loves You does not give audiences a group of people to root for. It does have the titular character, though. And that may be enough.
Benny Loves You comes to select theaters May 7, will be on demand May 11, and comes to Blu-ray June 8
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