Maniac Movie Review

Christopher Horton

You walk a fine line with remakes. You have to blaze your own path, but you also want to stay true to your source material. Stray too far, and you lose an audience. Stay too close, and you lose them too. So where do you go?

Director Franck Khalfoun manages to walk that fine line with an original take on the story.

The story follows Frank, a loner that inherited his mother’s mannequin restoration company due to her untimely death a year earlier. Frank suffers from migraines, and a need to scalp and murder beautiful women. Not to mention his plethora of mommy issues, that stem from a brutal childhood.  Oh, and vivid hallucinations too.

This is a remake of an 80′s film, that unfortunately I have never seen. But I might have to go back and check it out.

I could not have imagined Elijah Wood as disturbing, in any way. I mean, he was Frodo. However, after watching this, I couldn’t imagine anyone else as “Frank”. There’s a fragility about him, that I don’t think many actors could portray. I was pleasantly surprised.

The movie is shot from the first person perspective, which immediately puts you into the movie. You are a part of the process, not just a voyeur. You see the world as Frank does, and the world is a nightmare. You see what he sees when he is alone, and you see what he sees when he interacts with other people. If it wasn’t for current computer games ( Think “Half-Life”, “Doom”or “Halo”) then this camera technique would be totally original. But alas, its effective at any rate. This gives Elijah minimal screen time, and his role is played mostly by voice over.

The story is told seamlessly through flashbacks and “present” time. The flashbacks serve their purpose, of which is to introduce you to the psyche of Frank. You get some insight of who he is, and why he does the things he does. It gives a very ‘personal” feeling to the experience, and you even feel a little sorry for Frank. You cant help but think that if he just had someone that loves him, and cared about him, that maybe he would stop killing.

But then again, maybe not. Maybe he was meant to be a killer.

I cant stress how awesome this film is. It has an art-house feel to it, but it doesn’t cut out any violence either. You literally see what Frank does, the whole time. The camera doesn’t cut away when he breaks out his knife. Its funny, that you root for Frank even though he is clearly a monster. But you can sense his damage from the first few frames.

Not to mention, the other star of the show: The soundtrack/score. The guy who did the score is known only as “Rob”, uses a lot of cool analog synth sounds to set the mood for the scenes. I wish there was more on the composer than the single named moniker. But I have not been able to find much on the subject.

A definite must-see for anyone who loves horror.

4.5 / 5 stars     


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      1. lance malarky August 4, 2013 at 11:42 pm

        You guys always do the hard work for me :) … Thanks for the post and I will certainly be giving it a watch. Will update when I’ve seen it. My only fear is you have sold it well. Mayhap too well. Only two hours will tell :)

      2. nana October 19, 2013 at 12:15 am

        ….” I could not have imagined Elijah Wood as disturbing, in any way”

        seriously, have you not seen Sin City????

      3. Aaron Cox December 6, 2013 at 5:50 am

        I read the review, and ran to go see it. I am a fan of Elijah Wood, so I went with high hopes. I actually liked the POV in this movie, where I usually don’t. I thought it was brutal and actually well written for the most part. The only thing I was not a fan of was the hype around this movie. While I thought it was good, I didn’t think it was near great. I liked the majority of this movie, but something was just missing and I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps I am being to judgmental on this because of my expectations, but whatever it is, it is still a good movie. It it brutal and delivers on tension throughout. That alone makes me like the film, so I will leave it at that. 3.5/5