Hanky Panky Review: A Deliriously Bizarre Horror-Comedy Gem

Imagine a world where your trusty handkerchief is more than just a cloth for wiping your nose – it’s a talking, wise-cracking companion with a mind of its own. Welcome to the delightfully absurd world of Hanky Panky, a horror-comedy that defies all conventions and revels in its own madcap chaos.

At the center of this twisted tale is Sam, a socially awkward man whose only friend is Woody, his sentient handkerchief. When Sam finds himself accidentally invited to a holiday gathering at a remote cabin, he has no choice but to bring Woody along. But what should have been a festive getaway quickly devolves into a nightmare as the other guests start turning up dead one by one. With bodies piling up and a mysterious evil force lurking, Sam and Woody must put their unconventional partnership to the test to unravel the mystery and survive the night.

Hanky Panky takes its outrageous premise and runs with it full throttle. Co-directors Nick Roth and Lindsey Haun have crafted a film that is unabashedly weird, delightfully self-aware, and utterly hilarious. From the moment Sam and Woody arrive at the cabin, the audience is thrust into a world of eccentric characters, bizarre happenings, and rapid-fire jokes that keep coming at a relentless pace.

The real star of the show is the chemistry between Jacob DeMonte-Finn as the lovably awkward Sam and Toby Bryan’s voicework as Woody, the foul-mouthed yet endearing handkerchief. Their back-and-forth banter is a constant source of laughs, and their unlikely friendship forms the heart of the film. The supporting cast, including the likes of Seth Green as the nefarious Harry the Hat, is equally game, fully committing to the madness unfolding around them.

While the low-budget production values are apparent at times, Hanky Panky wears its indie roots as a badge of honor. The filmmakers embrace the campiness and revel in the very elements that would sink a more conventional movie. From the intentionally janky visual effects to the over-the-top performances, everything comes together to create an endearingly scrappy final product.

Underneath the layers of absurdity lies a surprisingly poignant message about acceptance and finding connection in the most unlikely of places. Hanky Panky reminds us that sometimes the best friendships bloom in the strangest of circumstances – even if one of those friends happens to be a talking piece of cloth.

Hanky Panky Still Image
Hanky Panky Still Image

What We Liked:

  • The unabashed weirdness and willingness to go all-in on the bizarre premise. Hanky Panky fully commits to its own insanity, resulting in a delightfully refreshing comedic experience.
  • The stellar voice work by Toby Bryan as Woody the handkerchief. He brings so much personality and humor to what could have been a one-note joke.
  • The heartfelt friendship between Sam and Woody that grounds the craziness with an unexpectedly poignant emotional core.
  • The game supporting cast like Seth Green who dive headfirst into the madcap tone without holding back.
  • The film’s self-aware, campy sensibilities that lovingly pay homage to cult classics while still feeling original.
  • The subtle yet impactful messages about self-acceptance and finding your people, no matter how weird you are.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some of the more crude sexual humor and innuendos felt gratuitous at times and could turn off some viewers.
  • The low production values were noticeable in certain areas like lighting, audio mixing, and effects – though this is part of the film’s scrappy charm.
  • A few of the more outlandish side characters like Lilith felt tonally disconnected from the rest of the wacky ensemble.
  • The mystery/slasher elements were a bit undercooked compared to the strengths of the comedy and character dynamics.

The positives far outweighed the negatives in this an affectionately bizarre and surprisingly heartfelt Horror-comedy gem.

Hanky Panky is a film that defies easy categorization and traditional critique. On its surface, it’s an ultra-low-budget, deliriously bizarre horror-comedy that makes no apologies for its weirdness. Yet beneath the madcap antics and talking handkerchief protagonists lies a sincere and surprisingly poignant heart.

I’ll admit, when I first started watching, I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. The uneven production values and over-the-top performances had me questioning if this was just too strange for its own good. But slowly and surely, the manic energy, rapid-fire jokes, and endearing central friendship between Sam and Woody won me over. By leaning fully into its own offbeat charm, Hanky Panky morphs from a curiosity into a raucously entertaining experience.

Directors Nick Roth and Lindsey Haun clearly made this film on their own warped terms, crafting something that feels like the cinematic equivalent of a beautiful mind spilling its strangest thoughts directly onto the screen. And you know what? I kinda loved swimming in that bizarre headspace for 86 minutes. Yes, the crudeness went a tad too far at points, and some tonal inconsistencies existed. But the commitment to total insanity from the entire cast and crew is what makes Hanky Panky so darn endearing.

The film is a true original – a labor of love from a tight-knit group of friends having as much fun as humanly possible. By the climactic showdown between Woody and the evil Harry the Hat, I was fully on board and invested in their bizarre world. Hanky Panky is the kind of weird little gem that sells the dream that movies can still be birthed from pure, uncut creative passion. For that alone, it deserves to be celebrated.

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