Directed by Tim Sullivan, 2005
A vapid, moronic attempt at a horror film if there ever was one. 2001 Maniacs is everything I hate about horror these days. I’ve heard good things about the original Two Thousand Maniacs!, but this remake is just trash.
Horny frat boys and sluty sorority girls fill out the principle cast of coeds on spring break who arrive, via detour, at a southern town isolated from the modern world who happens to be holding their annual cannibalisitic festival. I’ll not argue that people this stereotypical don’t exist in real life – take a walk on the FSU campus and you’ll see them every 10th person – but they don’t make for an interesting movie. Ever. And yet time and time again this is ALL we get.
But I guess this is what we can expect when Eli Roth is involved. 2001 Maniacs was the first child of Roth’s production company, Raw Nerve. Hostel was the second. Is it any shocker that they both use the same formula of trite-as-hell characters and end up with dumb-as-fuck movies? Roth did it right in Cabin Fever. His characters were all straight out of an MTV casting call, but at least his true appreciation for horror compensated. There is no appreciation here. There is no respect for the genre I grew up with, just a deftly misplaced infatuation with an abundance of partial nudity and silly gore.
But if that is all you want to see in a horror movie, look no further than 2001 Maniacs. If I went through the movie again, which is 87 minutes of my life I hope I’m fortunate enough to never revist, I’m not sure I could count how many girls are paraded around in fantasy cowgirl outfits. This sounds like a more tempting quality to the movie than it really is, because watching the impressive wardrobe department’s efforts isn’t worth the price of listening to horrible – and completely predictable – southern jokes that wouldn’t even cut it on “MadTV”. Hell, this movie even has a running “joke” about a guy with his pants around his ankles who keeps chasing the sheep he is in love with.
The gore effects are solid, the problem is all the deaths that S.O.T.A. FX had to create were either a) unoriginal or b) original but flat-out dumb. One guy actually drinks acid out of a tube (while being straddled by yet another cowgirl), without realizing it INSTANTLY, and is then hollowed out accordingly. I’m not questioning the logic or science behind it – clearly there is none – that’s just a stupid death. There isn’t any other way to describe it.
The only thing about 2001 Maniacs that I find worth praising (other than the wardrobe department if you’re a guy) is Nathan Barr’s score. Barr has always provided quality listening to the genre as of late. The movies he gets to score may be crap half the time, but the man has got talent and it deserves a mention of its own.
Other than that, 2001 Maniacs reeks. The acting isn’t terrible (even though I’ve never been able to get into any role Robert Englund has done outside of Freddy Kruger), but the characters are. The gore works, the deaths just don’t. There is humor, it just isn’t funny. There is a movie here, it’s just bad.