2001 Maniacs (March 31/06)
A remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis' classic splatter film Two Thousand Maniacs!, 2001 Maniacs certainly lives up to its predecessor as far as gore is concerned but comes up short in offering up characters worth caring about or a plot worth following.
Like the original, 2001 Maniacs revolves around several would-be revelers who find themselves trapped in a small Southern town after taking a detour en route to Daytona Beach. There, they encounter an entire community comprised exclusively of Civil War re-enactors - complete with a gregarious (and sketchy) mayor (played by Robert Englund). The visitors initially seem thrilled by the special treatment they're individually receiving - ie one guy gets to watch two girls make out - but it's not long before the town's sinister nature becomes abundantly clear.
The majority of 2001 Maniacs' first half is devoted to sequences in which thinly-drawn characters frolic and party, with the occasional blast of gore thrown in for good measure. Though there are a couple of decent performances (Englund, in particular, is at his scenery-chewing best), the film is riddled with precisely the sort of unconvincing and subpar acting that one generally associates with low-budget horror flicks.
Director and co-writer Tim Sullivan infuses 2001 Maniacs with a distinctly tongue-in-cheek vibe that is initially intriguing but ultimately dull; the lack of scares certainly doesn't help matters, though the filmmaker certainly proves himself adept at offering up bloody kill sequences. But the bottom line is that the movie's lack of both laughs and scares prevents it from becoming the cheeky horror comedy that Sullivan clearly wants it to be (in fairness, this is a genre is virtually impossible to do right).