Karl Holt finds that it’s child’s play to deliver the highlight of this year’s FrightFest with Benny Loves You.
In 1995, the must-have toy was Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. In 2020, everyone will want a Benny. This film plays on Toy Story‘s central concept that toys are alive however it is most certainly not suitable for children aged 8 and under. Imagine the segment where Jessie sings about being abandoned by her owner but turned into a slasher movie!
Jack is one of life’s losers. Single, passed over for promotion. 35 years old and still living with his parents. When his parents pass away, Jack is forced to sell the house. During a clear out, he throws away his childhood bear. Benny. The only problem is Benny is not going to leave that easily and will do anything to protect his buddy Jack and his home.
When Benny starts to kill, the relationship between the two shifts from owner and toy to one similar to John Connor and the T-800. Jack tries to teach Benny why it is wrong to kill. Later, while explaining to love interest Dawn she is danger, he quotes Kyle Reese saying “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead!”.
A murderous toy might not be a brand new idea however like Hasbro rebranding and updating a toy franchise for a new generation, Benny Loves You takes elements from Child’s Play, Small Soldiers and Annabelle and fashions a killer new twist on the genre.
Karl Holt wears many hats on this production. He is the director, producer, writer, cinematographer, editor and lead actor. He is the UK’s answer to Robert Rodriguez. To his credit he nevers takes his eye off any of the multiple plates he is spinning and delivers a slick and entertaining movie that has a consistent tone to it.
With Benny being a cute as Gizmo but as deadly as Stripe, it definitely falls into the Gremlins comedy-horror sub-genre. There is even a flashback to why a character hates their birthday.
Yet the film it most resembles in terms of tone is Shaun Of The Dead. It also successfully walks the tightrope of comedy and horror whilst also providing an emotional core at its heart.
This is the type of outrageously funny and gory horror you wish you could watch with an eager and receptive cinema audience like FrightFest.
This film was a five year labour of love for Karl Holt. The end result was worth it because Benny Loves You and audiences will love Benny too.
Director: Karl Holt
Stars: Karl Holt, Claire Cartwright,
Runtime: 94 minutes