Benny Loves You Movie Review

Written by Sean M. Sanford

Released by DREAD

benny loves you poster large

Written and directed by Karl Holt
2019, 94 minutes, Not Rated
Released on May 7th, 2021

Karl Holt as Jack
Claire Cartwright as Dawn
George Collie as Richard

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Jack and Benny have a complicated relationship. One that reeks of trials, tribulations, murder, and plush…oh yeah, Benny’s a stuffed toy, so there’s that. And like most stuffed toys, Benny doesn’t like to be neglected. Unlike most stuffed toys, Benny’ll shank a fool.

Meet Jack (played by writer/director Karl Holt), a gentleman in his mid-30s who hosts a slew of issues that have run him askance since childhood. Jack lives with his parents, in his old bedroom, and is entrenched in his childhood toys. Jack’s stagnation funnels even to his profession, where he works at a toy company helping create prototypes for the next league of playthings. And also where he gets severely dicked around by his alleged superiors.

Ever since he was small child, Jack has had Benny, a cherished stuffed eccentric who would guard Jack from all of life’s ghosts and monsters. Thing is though, Benny has also guarded Jack from a social life and your classic structure of adulthood. Which has festered in quiet desperation within the cobwebs of his psyche.

Until tragedy strikes, and he’s urged to reassess his life’s droll confines.

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Now he has been faced with the hard-lined truth that he might be too damn old for his toys, placing Benny in a mausoleum beside all that Jack deems better resting in peace – in the depths of his closet. As I already alluded to, Benny ain’t having that shit. He responds by coming alive and ruthlessly slaughtering those who he feels are too close to Jack. Soundtracking the mayhem are his own assurances that “Benny loves you,” amongst other misleadingly friendly quips.

Benny Loves You does a great job of illustrating the ways that life can sometimes provide just enough assumed desires to inspire stagnation. When Jack was a boy he felt it necessary to believe that Benny would solve any and all of his problems, making it painfully clear that Benny was all Jack would ever need in a companion. I can see how such a relationship would be tempting. Can you imagine? A friend who seems so perfect when you’re a child that you feel like you’re done looking for any other friends? I mean, I’m lucky I never met a life-sized Raphael when I was a kid. I’m talking about the Ninja Turtle of course, not the Renaissance painter. Or, I dunno, maybe a merging of the two… Point is, if said Renaissance Avenging Reptile started killing anyone who tried to get close to me, well I feel I might be forced to severely reconsider our relationship. Especially if I was a grownup.

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The movie does a wonderful job exhibiting the transition into a delayed adulthood. Karl Holt brings the perfect strain of comedy to such a daycare-macabre. He and the rest of the cast provide a unique tinge to the comedy-horror trope, in that as omnipresent as the humor is, it also brings an even more unsettling hue to the darkness, which gives each of the characters a sort of charming desperation.

The film also takes on the idea that Jack might not be alone with his brand of Benny-ism. Toys in general come to represent a figment of childhood, but even more so, something to hold at arm’s length. And also, something to be sure to not pair with sharp objects. As some wisps of youth have a tendency to slit your damn throat.

Oh, don’t act like you’re surprised.

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Movie: 4.5 Star Rating Cover

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Sean M. Sanford
Sean M. Sanford
Staff Reviewer
Sean M. Sanford was born and raised in the Sierra foothills of California on a haunted ranch that was constantly trying to remind him how wonderful it is being scared shitless. He later moved to San Francisco where he currently resides in an apartment that may or may not be cursed. With so many horrific dimensions to his life, Sanford has been known to revel since birth in scary movies, novels, comic books, and tales told by friends and loved ones. He writes fiction for the skateboarding magazine Lowcard, through which he has a collection of stories and photos called A Manbaby’s Requiem. He also wrote fiction for the online periodical Defiant Scribe. He writes book reviews for Night Worms, and Horror Oasis, and has written horror movie articles for the website, The Infinite Eleven. He has an Instagram account all about books, called @skaters_who_read. He and his wife Candice have started a homemade incense company called Effin Relax, and he’s been known to burn said fragrances during the scariest of movies to help calm his nerves. He looks forward to being the most freaky and creative spirit once he’s left this mortal coil.
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