2001 Maniacs review by The Grim Ringler

Among the many, many, many things I dont quite get is the notion of a sequel to a film that is, well, to put it bluntly, old. I just dont get it. Take this film as a prime example. Yes, 2000 Maniacs is a cult horror trash feast. Its probably director HG Lewis finest hour. It was trashy, it was colorful, it was weird, it was sleazy, it was gory, but above all else, it was good. Flash forward, oh, thirty some years and Lewis is popular again and making movies. Not good movies, but hes making them. And all of a sudden people want to be involved in his projects or remakes or sequels or what have you. Enter, 2001 Maniacs, a needless sequel too interested in aping the first film than it is finding its own identity.

Its Spring Break and three college friends are heading for Daytona. Along the way south they run into three more young people headed for the same hot spot. Men pitch woo, sass is ladled out, and fores are shadowed. The two carloads part ways but, thanks to a strange detour in the road not far from the gas station theyd met up, they meet up again in the small town of Pleasant Valley. The students just happened to stop into town during the towns celebration where, lo and behold, the newcomers (including an inter-racial couple who arrive on motorcycle behind the two cars) are the guests of honor for the party. Now, our spring breakers are all down for a good time but the people of this very Southern town seem a bit off, a bit odd if you will, and they cant quite figure out if its that these are honest-to-goodness Southerners (who are ALL inbred and stupid, naturally), or if something is afoot. Of course the breakers decide its that the folks are Southern, and decide to enjoy the hospitality. Unfortunately, it turns out that this celebration is a bit of old school payback for sins committed by the North during the Civil War. So, one by one, our breakers begin to disappear, and the Southern hosts are only getting warmed up.

As I said, the hell of this movie is, really, that its a continuation of a film that was a stand-alone. If you are going to make something like this, add something new, dont ape the original. Hell, had they made this actually scary, unlike the first one, and had taken the original idea and did something different with it then at least wed have something unique. As it is, at best, this can only be a second-runner-up the original. And sadly, it isnt even that.

The movie tries way too hard to be funny, swinging either wildly or at jokes that are far too old to be funny anymore. We get a lot of cultural stereotypes, which may have worked had they broken the types with better character development, but, well, not so much. The heck of it too is that more time went into casting the Southerners, who are great characters, but not the leads, who really need to carry the film. So in the end it looks they went to a modeling agency and just hired a bunch of people who wanted to get into acting and voila, here are your stars for the show. And for me, the hell of it was this, the movie wasnt fun. It was predictable and boring. The gore is fun, and over the top, but the kills are not terribly clever.

But I say this, a lot of people will like this. Robert Englund is really fun in the film, and completely over the top. And the movie isnt heavy or serious so if you want some light, gory horror, especially after so many dark horror films of late, then this might be to your liking. Its shot well, and there are some great cameos to look out for, as well as nods to the original film. And hell, I give them this, they brought back the one thing I wanted most from the original, and that was the theme song, and in an awfully clever way, so kudos for that.

The disc is packed with commentaries, deleted scenes, and behind the scenes stuff so if you dig the disc theres plenty to keep you around.

For me, this is another could have been project. I just think that it could have been far cleverer if they wanted to be funny, or much darker if they wanted to take the film in a different direction. Instead, they took the middle road and turned a movie that will make some dough, some fans will like while others will hate it, and wont really remembered in a year or two. Which is the biggest shame of all.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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