HONG KONG — Elijah Wood-starring slasher movie “Maniac” has been banned from theatrical and DVD release in New Zealand. The Kiwi authorities said the first person perspective of the U.S.-French film made it too graphic.
The film was directed by Franck Khalfoun and scripted by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur as a remake of a 1980s original by William Lustig.
“The murders are depicted in first-person perspective, inviting a viewer’s vicarious participation,” the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification, wrote in an explanation. “While the feature does not actively promote or support this material, the tacit invitation to enjoy cruel and violent behavior through its first-person portrayal and packaging as entertainment is likely to lead to an erosion of empathy for some viewers.”
The film was to have been released in New Zealand by Australia’s Monster Pictures. The company says it intends to appeals against the ban and will go ahead with a planned theatrical outing in Oz.
IFC Midnight acquired all North American rights.
The New Zealand ruling restricts “Maniac” to screenings at festivals only. It is expected to play in the New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland and Wellington at the end of the month.
Wood was a star of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” which were largely made in New Zealand.