Elijah Wood's most recent turn as a serial killer, this time in the 2012 French-American horror remake "Maniac" (he previously played a psychopath who hungered after prostitutes in "Sin City"), won't make it into New Zealand theaters.
The New Zealand government has banned the movie from both theatrical and DVD release in the country, reports Deadline, meaning it can only be viewed in a film studies course or as part of a film festival -- and in both cases the audience must be over 18.
In the movie, Wood stalks, murders, and scalps women as Frank Zito, a man grappling with some serious mommy issues. The entire film, which is a remake of the 1980 grindhouse flick of the same name, is shot from Frank's point of view.
"It's the most intriguing element of the film," Wood told The Scotsman earlier this year. "It meant I could create this character in a completely different way. It became about hearing him and feeling him rather than seeing him. And you only see him in flashes, so they become very intense character-revealing moments. I've never played someone so dark before. It was interesting to go there."
Director Franck Khalfoun explained that major storytelling decision to Front Row Reviews, saying, "I wanted the audience to feel trapped in his body. The cinema plays a big part in that concept since you are stuck in your seat forced to experience the events with little control over the outcome. Much like Frank is stuck in his body. You are therefore at the same time complicit and repulsed. Therein lies the horror."
It's that unique -- and uniquely terrifying -- POV that prompted New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification to deem the film as potentially "injurious to the public good."
Neil Foley, of the movie's Australia-based distributor, Monster Pictures, has slammed the ban as "an insult to the intelligence of the adult population of New Zealand. ... We are flabbergasted."
"Maniac" premiered at Cannes in 2012, and was released in the United States last month by IFC Midnight. It's currently screening as part of the Incredibly Strange section of the New Zealand International Film Festival.