The Movie Waffler First Look Review - MANIACAL NIGHT: REBORN | The Movie Waffler


Maniacal Night Reborn review
A family's New Year's party is disrupted by violent home invaders.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Shreco Bakari

Starring: Shreco Bakari, Jordon White, Naomi Couch, Hassan Goines, Grae Jordan, Mckenzie Gunter

Maniacal Night Reborn poster

Maniacal Night: Reborn (or "Part 2" if you prefer) opens with an uncredited "Maria" talking directly to the camera in a news feed where she is broadcasting live to her audience of online viewers. Maria says that she has gotten her hands on footage that shows the brutal murder of her best friend and that it also shows a connection to a previous crime (and here Maniacal Night Part One is referenced for those playing at home). She uploads the footage just in time for the opening credits, and as some unknown assailant breaks down her door.

"Inspired by a true story" is writ large across the screen before we get cracking in the found footage style.

Maniacal Night Reborn review

A family of four (two dads Austin and Kayson and their two adopted late-teenaged kids) are loaded into the car for a trip back home. They are talking way too fast (in an attempt at "realism" no doubt) so it's hard to tell exactly where they've been or why they are heading home, but we are onboard for this trip regardless.

Once arrived at the house, daughter Mya (Naomi Couch in an impressive debut), while filming the world's most boring "This is my bedroom" movie, sees a stranger across the street watching her house. When her brother Leo (Hassan Goines) arrives in her room, said stranger has disappeared.

They are both excited about their upcoming 7-year adoption anniversary, and plan on celebrating with some "herbal refreshments." That night they throw a big New Years Eve house party for themselves in their lounge room. Everyone has a loud good time (except the audience as we are half an hour in and still waiting for anything even remotely interesting to happen) and it's all captured on camera by Mya.

Earlier in the night, Mya and Leo had a confrontation about his holding up a liquor store, which seems an odd conversation to have at a party, but it leads to some tension throughout the night.

Then, just before the midnight countdown and kisses, dad Austin (Shreco Bakari) announces in his "my family is great" speech that he doesn't want to get a divorce anymore (!) which is an even odder thing to say at a party.

The doorbell rings and everyone acts weirded out even though it's New Years Eve and not that strange for people to be about at midnight.

The crying woman at the door gets everyone on-edge but when the lights go out and it's clear they aren't alone in the house, that's when things really start to go wrong for this family.

Maniacal Night Reborn review

The second chapter in writer/director Shreco Bakari's "Maniacal Night" series tries its best to play within the confines of the found-footage genre while hoping to capitalise on its low-budget friendly and lo-fi dependent gifts; but it doesn't really succeed.

There are several glaring issues here, such as tone – it maintains a level of gleeful hysteria throughout so that when stuff happens that actually requires hysteria, it doesn't land as it should.

There are also plotholes a-plenty, such as when the young Mya is hiding under a game table and videotaping her tormentor stalking around the room - it is glaringly obvious that the camera light is on to capture the action but somehow the tormentor can't find her? Not to mention that the killer's barbwire baseball bat is covered in blood and flesh even though the one body that we've seen had no such injuries.

And the "Why would they keep filming?" brigade has plenty to talk about here because yeah, why would they keep filming? There is no way on earth they would be running around still holding a camera in their own home, especially one with the light on.

Maniacal Night Reborn review

This movie would have been far better using a vignette of footage taken from security cameras; that would at least make sense.

There are believability issues such as one killer cutting another person's throat while the knife remains completely clean; and the overdubbed liquid sounds used to imply the the throat being cut are almost comedic.

The actors do a commendable job here, and their performances work well to help sell a story that is never convincing.

As evidenced by some of the shots and the masks the killers wear, this seems heavily influenced by The Strangers, and if that movie worked for you this may also work to some degree; but where that film managed to maintain a sense of danger, atmosphere and believable injuries, this film fails in all three of those aspects.

I wish I liked this more, but it struggled to keep my attention and in a sub-genre I love, that's not a good sign.

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