2 September 2015 | mungflesh
Don't beat on the brat ... or else
Banjo is a tale of an unremarkable guy called Peltzer who is bullied by his office boss and whom with his sexy, asset-laden partner is also cheating. Following an unfortunate and rather painful incident, Peltzer's already downbeat situation takes a final plummeting nose dive, leading to an imaginary friend called Ronnie to appear before him; who begins to take the reins, pushing Peltzer's life into vengeful bloody mayhem.
Banjo reminded me a lot of the 2013 psychological horror/drama "Dementamania", although Peltzer comes across as more of a victim and loser than Ed Arkham. Quite unlike Dementamania however, Banjo has a fun feel to it, whereas the former is a fairly clinical affair.
Banjo is hardly a tour-de-force of modern horror/exploitation cinema but it is a cool demonstration of what a genre-loving director can achieve. I'm a fan of the Troma-style genre of movies which has helped influence aspects of Banjo and, from the outset, does have its fair share of crazy, crude moments which put it in that league. Yet I felt too many scenes and too many moments of dialogue were, whilst all in context, unnecessarily prolonged and lacking the quick-fire MTV sensibility which I would have expected in this sub genre of movie.
The other main issue with the movie is, for me, the character Ronnie. He got on my nerves after a while. Some moments, Ronnie was clown-like, then at others a devil on the shoulder or playground teaser. This might have been intentional but I struggled to securely identify with him and as a result didn't really see him as the overwhelming catalyst he should have been for the latter stages of the movie.
These points aside, Banjo does have some remarkable, if eye-watering moments and a solid performance from lead actor James Hamer-Morton, who really helps tie the movie together. There is one scene in particular which is likely to get people talking and I, for one, have never winced so badly during a movie. Not ever - and that's after a lifelong diet of horror!
Whilst Banjo does have its flaws, the movie is clearly made on a low budget and I applaud the director and crew for an achievement which is clearly going to be an inspiration to other future film-makers. The special effects are surprisingly good and put a lot of bigger productions to shame and the acting throughout was not half as wooden or Troma-esque as I was expecting. Overall, it flows well and is a competent piece of film making.
So did I like it then? Well I definitely feel like watching it again to make up my mind, because it was not the kind of watch that leaves you yearning for the finish, which I suppose means that I did.
At least next time I'll know the cue for when to close my eyes and cover my ears.