I first heard about the remake of Maniac at HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati back in March. I finally decided to give this film a try. Maniac stars Elijah Wood as Frank, a mannequin shop owner with some serious mommy issues and Nora Arnezeder as Anna, a talented young artist/photographer.
Maniac was written by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur and directed by Franck Khalfoun. This fresh take on the 1980 thriller was originally released December 27, 2012.
Just when the streets seemed safe, a killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt. Frank is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when a young artist named Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill. ~IMDB
I am generally not a fan of remakes, but this fresh take on Maniac is one of the best remakes I have ever seen. This film was shot mostly in first person so you got to see everything from Frank’s point of view. I really would not of pegged Elijah Wood for a horror actor, but he was absolutely brilliant. His portrayal of Frank was incredible. He had to play this character as though he suffered from severe migraines and a split personality disorder. It’s kind of eerie really how good he was at playing such a damaged character. When he would have flashbacks of his mother (played by the lovely America Olivo), and I must say that they did not portray his mother in the most wholesome light, I almost felt bad for him.
The script was very well written and the character development was complete genius. The character of Frank starts out like most movie killers, a despicable monster with some serious issues, but as his character evolves and more of why he is this way comes to light, he turns into one of the killers that you can really feel sorry for. Not since Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th series or Victor Crowley in the Hatchet series have I felt so sympathetic for a ruthless killer.
Nora Arnezeder did an incredible job portraying the lovely, artistic Anna. She was vulnerable but could still take care of herself.
Maniac over all was not a very gory film,but it has its moments. This film is more of a psychological thriller than a crazy gore-fest slasher film. Not to give too much away, but the ending is the goriest part of the film. I will just say that there is a strange poetic justice served at the end. Definitely one of the most bizarre endings I have seen in a long time.
All in all I would say that this remake is worth a watch. I am going to give Maniac a 7 out of 10 for the incredible writing, great cast/acting and the creativeness of everything from the script to the way the film was shot, but I feel there could have been a little more of an explanation of his childhood, so the flashbacks made a bit more sense. Below is a trailer for Maniac.