Aren’t we all just sick of all these re-makes that have nothing new to give us other than repeating what the original did without being anywhere near as good. It’s not that re-makes aren’t a great idea. All you need to do is watch John Carpenters The Thing to realise how brilliant a re-make could be. All you need is to take the basic premise of the original and create different movie entirely. That’s what Maniac is, taken from the 1980 William Lustig film of the same name, the plot is basically the same. Frank Zito (Elijah Wood) is a troubled young man who has a rather nasty habit of stalking young woman and murdering them whilst collecting their scalps and dressing them on top of mannequins. When a photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder) comes into his life, he is left torn between his inner desires to find love or keep her as a trophy in his ever-increasing collection.
This was the most uncomfortable experiences I had in the cinema for quite sometime. Wood is creep as hell as the a predator, conflicted with his two personalities. One side just wants to find love but can’t stop the others murderous ways. Most of the film places the audeance in Frank’s POV, making the viewer an unwilling accomplice to his actions and completely powerless to stop him. Gore fans will be happy as it takes no prisoners and goes all out in the gross out department. It also gives insight to Franks warped world as we see the bloodied mannequins come to life as the girls he murdered tormenting him.
Arnezeder is a likeable damsel is distress while director Franck Khalfoun and producter Alexandre Aja make great use of the L.A setting, channelling a crisp neon noir 80’s sheen with a classic synth score that adds a dirty taste to the sharp good looking cinematography. Maniac may to too full on for some palates as the scalping and tearing off flesh will turn stomachs, it will unnerve viewers as it gives them something that is different. In a word, it’s a classic.