Director – Tim Sullivan
Cast – Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews, Jay Gillespie, Marla Malcolm, Dylan Edrington, Matthew Carey, Peter Stormare, Eli Roth
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first heard of this film back in 2005 when it debuted, and while I heard mostly good buzz regarding this flick I wanted to give the original film, Herschel Gordon Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs! a watch first. I was very pleased with the end result of Two Thousand Maniacs!, and after finally giving this re-imaging/remake a watch I can say that I am also very pleased with the end result of 2001 Maniacs. With tons of gore and fun from start to finish, this is a flick that turned out better than I expected.
2001 Maniacs follows three college buds on their way to what they expect to be a T&A-filled two weeks in Daytona Beach, Florida. On their way past the Mason-Dixon line they take a detour that leads to the small town of Pleasant Valley, South Carolina, population 2001. Immediately upon entering the town they are greeted by the warm and hospitable townsfolk led by Mayor Buckman(Robert Englund; A Nightmare on Elm Street), and when another group of friends arrive at the town they accept the town’s offer of staying a few days for the Guts & Glory Jubilee. What seems like a weekend of eating, drinking, and banging southern hunnies turns into terror when the friends realize they town’s intentions behind the Guts & Glory Jubilee…settling an old score against the North.
Well, I can honestly say that the guys in this film who stumbled upon Pleasant Valley did not have very much fun getting killed and hacked up in various gruesome ways, but I sure had fun watching them not have fun. Teehee.
Tim Sullivan(Driftwood, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams) does a fantastic job bringing this film to screen with the utmost amount of fun, with everything else taking second place. His direction is top notch, and his camera work and execution really sell this film to the viewer. The pacing is great, which I credit to his awesome direction and the very cool elements written into this film. We get excellent performances by many of the actors in this watch, with the crown going to the ever awesome Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman. The level of fun Englund has with this role is obvious, and it plays very well into selling his fantastic performance. We also get Lin Shayye as the female ringleader, Granny Boone, as well as Guiseppe Andrews(Cabin Fever, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever) portraying Harper Andrews, one of my favorite characters to watch. To make things EVEN cooler, we get Eli Roth(who I am not the biggest fan of, but still) playing the same hitchhiker character he played in his debut film, Cabin Fever. Fans of the original film remember the awesome kills we were given, and are probably asking how the kills are in this re-imaging, right? Well, let’s just say that they are just as enjoyable as the ones we get in the original. The gore reigns high in this one, and we get some truly gruesome and fun kills to laugh at and enjoy.
Story-wise this film follows the original for the most part, adding a few things and leaving a few things out. The dialogue for the Pleasant Valley characters was terrific, and I applaud writers Tim Sullivan and Chris Kobin for adding even more fun to this watch with such dialogue. The revenge element we get in the first film is not very present in this flick until very late in the film, but nonetheless revenge is revenge and I am glad they kept in in the film. Our main protagonists provide a fair amount of fun as well, with a fair selection of characters from different walks of life. I must admit though that these characters’ best purpose was being killed by the residents of Pleasant Valley, who were the real stars of this film. Heh.
Overall, this is a fun and awesome remake of the 1964 classic Two Thousand Maniacs! that comes with buckets of gore, insanely awesome kills, an awesome Robert Englund performance, and lots of southern charm and all the other fixins that make the south so great. Definitely recommended.