Maniac (2012)

May 4, 2013 - 7:29pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: Alexandre Aja, America Olivo, Arnezeder, Dan Hunter, Elijah Wood, first person, Franck Khalfoun, Frank Zito, GrĂ©gory Levasseur, Joshua De La Garza, killer, Maniac, Morgane Slemp, Nora, pov, remake, Sal Landi, serial killer, slasher, Steffinnie Phrommany, violent

Your rating: None Average: 8.1 (14 votes)
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Franck Khalfoun
Nora Arnezeder, Elijah Wood, America Olivo, Morgane Slemp, Sal Landi, Dan Hunter, Steffinnie Phrommany, Joshua De La Garza

Being a fan of the original, I approached this remake with caution, but also with a somewhat open mind. As long as it's not as it's not an exact copy of the source material, I try to treat each remake with the possibility (but unlikelihood) of surpassing the original, especially if the predecessor has some room for improvement. That's how I felt about the original--it was a good film and definitely classic, but still had some room for improvement in certain aspects. To my surprise, this remake actually turned out  to be quite good, even excelling passed the first in many ways.

The story pretty much remained the same as we follow a creepy socially inept male as he prowls the streets for his latest female victim. Replacing the late and great Joe Spinell is Elijah Wood as the murderer "Frank". Initially when I heard Elijah was going to play the killer I was rather skeptical, especially since the realistically grimy and disgusting look of our killer from the original was a big aspect of why it worked so well. Elijah seemed like he would be too clean cut for the role, but the filmmakers managed to make it work; and Elijah delivered one of his most daring performances in years.

Aside from casting Elijah, another incredibly bold move by the filmmakers was to make the flick entirely in the point of view of the killer. Although there have been a lot of films (horror specifically) that saw through the eyes of the killer, it would only be for certain key scenes. With the exception of one scene, we pretty much see from his eyes throughout the entire flick. This took a little bit getting used to, but you eventually learn to go with it and may even grow to love the adventurous aspect they decided to take. Of course, I've heard some viewers complain about the whole POV perspective as well, so I guess it works for and against it, depending on the viewer. I personally liked it and found it to be a creative way to get a better understanding as to what goes through the killer's mind before and after a murder.

I normally don't praise music from a film, but I have to give props for Maniac's score, as we're given a lot of great synthetic beats that seemed reminiscent of the 80s. It's pretty clear that despite being set in present day that they were aiming for an 80's feel, which made it stand out even more so than it already was. Though pretty violent, I found that the gore was kept to a somewhat minimum, though we do get a great beheading and nod to the original in one scene. Most of the deaths were accompanied with a nice scalping since Frank liked to put the scalps of his victims on top of the mannequins (much like in the original).

If I were to complain about anything in the movie it'd have to be about some very minor pacing issues here and there and the logical issues with some of these female victims, who seemed a little TOO naive at times. I also would've liked to have seen a bit more gore or a modern take of the infamous shotgun scene, but I digress. In the end, I got more than I expected from the flick, which left me pleasantly surpirsed.

Maniac excels in certain aspects that the original didn't and at the same time delivers a very violent and gutsy approach towards the normally stale modern slasher sub-genre with its unique first-person perspective. Accompanied with a great performance by Elijah Wood and some awesome music, this darkly-realistic pic proves that with the right talent, a remake can not only still be a good movie, but even surpass its predecessor in certain ways.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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