When Frank, an owner of a mannequin shop, meets a young beautiful artist asking for his help for an exhibition she is holding, his life begins to change. With an ever growing obsession as their friendship starts to develop, Frank’s need to feed his appetite to stalk and kill beautiful women soon sees him grow into a Maniac. As the story progresses, it unfolds that Franks childhood was not one of a normal child, witnessing his mother prostituting herself has clearly made an impact on his mind and given him an appetite to scalp the women he kills in order to use on his own mannequin’s until this eventually becomes the foundation of his own demise.
Maniac is a remake of the 80’s film of the same name, and see’s Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) play the lead in this cult horror classic. Throughout the movie we only see Frank (Elijah Wood) a handful of times; this is because 90% of the film is shot in the 1st person, through Frank’s eyes, making you feel as though you’re living his life through his own lens. This all adds to the affects of horror, insanity and the gruesome acts Frank carries out.
Directed by Franck Khalfoun (best known for his role in Piranha), with the screenplay written by Gregory Levasseur (The Hills Have Eyes) and Alexandre Aja (also co-wrote The Hills Have Eyes), whilst not being names you’ve probably heard of, they are best placed to remake this classic, Aja for one is a member of the unofficial Splat Pack, a term which was invented by the film historian Alan Jones for the new wave of directors making brutally violent horror films, and doing it with style.
In recent horror/slasher movies we have seen an influx of big famous names taking on lead roles, there seems to be a bit of a trend emerging with the actors of today bringing their diverse skills to this genre. Maniac is no different, we see Elijah Wood, who is most famous for his role as Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, take on the lead role as Frank. You’re probably all thinking the same thing I did; can the cute face of Frodo Baggins really play a psychotic madman? The answer is well and truly yes. Even though we do not get to see much of his face or acting abilities, when we do he looks gaunt and has grown a bit of facial hair, which really adds to the character of a psychotic madman. His whole performance is played out in his eyes. We also have Nora Arnezeder (Safe House) who plays Anne, Frank’s new obsession. Unfortunately, she brings nothing to this role even though she is the lead female role, her performance was lacklustre and quite frankly forgettable, I’m not quite sure she was really needed. It does appear that the entire budget for the film was spent on the production and Elijah Woods fee.
Maniac is extremely gruesome in parts and has that “I need to look away but can’t” factor in places, it certainly isn’t a film for the faint hearted, but in other scenes you can find yourself easily distracted as the story starts to drift. For you horror film fanatics out there, you’ll love this, but for any one even slightly squeamish this just might not be for you.
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— Jon-Riffioso-Hockley (@jonhockley) March 14, 2013