If you’ve said you wouldn’t watch an African movie that vividly tells you from the title that it revolves around a ghost, that’s a prudent position to take—because, during its infant days, Nollywood took its audience for granted with absurd ghost stories, befitting the Palaeolithic era.
But B. Sasore’s ‘Banana Island Ghost’ offers more: it succeeds in telling a weird fantasy story marinated in unending laughter on the back of brilliant actors. Yet, the title of the movie alone would make it difficult to market, because of the disappointing Nollywood ghost precedent.
It’s a great movie but you only get to know this after watching it. The conundrum, therefore, lies in the fact that, the title together with the background of the industry it’s coming from wouldn’t put you in a keen position to watch it, though you will enjoy it after watching it.
Set on Banana Island, the beautiful artificial island off the foreshore of Ikoyi, Lagos, the movie opens at a slow pace—as it struggled to set the needed foundation for the laughs to fall on.
Soon, it gathers an amusing momentum and begins to dish out a chain of hilarious, albeit unsurprising scenes. It’s deeply entertaining, a clear departure from the intended but not scary Nollywood ghost movies we’ve been tortured with in the past.
A ghost, Patrick (played by Patrick Diabuah) succeeds in getting God to grant him 3 days, to find a soulmate before finally being taken to heaven. With his new “ghostly proficiencies” to aid him in exploring this world, Patrick sets off to find his soulmate, unthoughtful of even the ultimate consequence.
Struggling, jacking all trades including picking pockets on Banana Island, is Ijeoma (played by Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah) who Patrick unintendedly picks as his soulmate and finds himself sleeping next to her the following morning.
While Patrick was on a mission to find a soulmate, his paired individual, Ijeoma is fully occupied–doing anything possible to save her father’s house in Banana Island from foreclosure, set to take place in 3 days.
Before Patrick and Ijeoma settled to pursue the same objective, their antagonism which was layered by Ijeoma’s other equally hysterical interactions with other characters from work drove the movie.
The three days for Patrick to find his soulmate and same for Ijeoma to prevent a foreclosure on her father’s house ended on a satisfying note for the two, and even the waggish Banana Island DPO (played by Saidi Balogun) gets to have a final wicked laugh.
Ijeoma, throughout, the movie serves authentic comedy chops—sometimes, made even wittier by the accompanying frolics.
The ghost is well presented, except for a scene that a ghost that’s only visible to Ijeoma suddenly becomes apparent in a CCTV camera being viewed by another—a typical Nollywood gaffe.
Banana Island Ghost which received a red carpet premiere on Friday, October 20, at the Odeon Cinema in Greenwich, London, starts showing in 15 selected cinemas across the UK, from 27th October, 2017—and it’s a must watch.
Odeon Surrey Quays
Cineworld Wood Green
Cineworld Milton Keynes
Vue Shepherds Bush
Vue Manchester Printworks
The film is brought to the UK by Evrit Films, a UK-based film distribution company.