A remake of the 80s horror cult classic, Maniac is a gruesome slasher where Frodo goes seriously bad; Elijah Wood is serial killer Frank Zito, a loner with Mummy issues who likes to kill women and scalp them for his mannequins. He’s like a more extreme Andrew McCarthy.
Beautifully shot with a haunting 80s synth score by Rob, we prowl the streets at night with Frank as he goes in search of his victims. Shot in Frank’s POV, we become the killer; we stab, we strangle and we scalp. We catch clever glimpses of Frank in mirrors or reflections, as he looks at himself/us in disbelief. It’s a brave move for Wood, who takes some great chances with his films. We’re reminded it is Wood. Sometimes we forget, as we’re the killer. It’s incredibly voyeuristic and intense.
Frank strikes up a ‘friendship’ of sorts with artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) who wants his mannequins in her show, and he hopes for a normal relationship with her. We know there’s no hope, and have fear for Anna as she gets closer and closer to him. Will she find out what he is before it’s too late? Can Frank be stopped?
This version doesn’t have anything that matches the original’s infamous ‘Disco Boy Scene’ with the shotgun, but it’s creepy and brutal with two particularly graphic scalpings. The camera doesn’t shy away, and french director Franck Khalfoun has made a modern horror masterpiece. The night shots are as good as Drive, Shame or Collateral. We can’t wait to see what he does with Amityville: The Awakening, coming next year.
TOTAL RATING: 8/10
GORE RATING: 4/5
Watch it for: Elijah Wood is genius
Watch out for: The opening murder. You won’t be able to scream