Directed by: Franck Khalfoun
Written by: Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur
Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Jan Broberg
As the title suggests, this is a film about a rather nasty and unpleasant individual. A maniac.
Frank (Wood) owns a business restoring mannequins. He is a loner and a psychopath. He is a serial killer who preys on mostly young women. After murdering them he removes their scalp and keeps it in his home. One day he meets and Anna (Arnezeder), a young photographer, who takes an interest in his business. The two of them spend a lot of time together and get along. Frank eventually falls for her. However, that does not stop him from continuing his murder spree.
Maniac is a dark, ultra-violent slasher film. It is a remake of the 1980 film of the same name. It takes the viewer into the mind of a deranged killer. It is indicated that he suffered a painful and disturbing upbringing, which resulted in him becoming who he is now.
One thing that stands out is the violence, which is explicitly shown. The murders are shown in great detail and are very brutal and bloody. There is also nudity and graphic sex scenes.
Almost the entire film was shot from the killer's point of view, with himself only shown occasionally in the third person and in reflections. Although Wood is not seen much, that does not stop him from delivering a spinetingling performance, portraying a man who has serious mental issues. He also does a fantastic job with his character's internal monologue, helping the audience get a picture of Frank's disturbed psychology. The supporting cast are also dynamic, with Arnezeder very believable as a passionate artist and kind person.
Director Khalfoun handles the point of view shots well. He manages to convince the audience that they are viewing the world through Frank's eyes. He takes the viewers for a ride with Frank as he goes about his business and commits unspeakable acts.
The music is one of the most powerful elements of the film. The score perfectly captures the dark and sinister mood and highlights the atrocities that take place.
Watching Maniac is quite a rollercoaster ride. Right from the murder that takes place at the beginning, the movie shocks the viewer and never loses its grip. The killings are grotesque and gory and some people might find them hard to watch. The audience will most likely be intrigued by Frank and will be interested in finding out what makes him tick. Why he kills.
To conclude, this is a very dark, very violent psychological slasher film. It will most likely appeal to horror fans. However it is not for the faint of heart.