Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Movie Review: "Maniac" (2012)

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Director: Franck Khalfoun
Year: 2012
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Frank (Elijah Wood) restores vintage mannequins and is also a maniac. He stalks and kills random girls that he sees on the street or finds online, as long as they catch his eye. He scalps them and uses their hair on his personal mannequins, which he sees as his living victims.  

Talk about the ultimate tale of parents fucking up their children.

Shot almost entirely in the first person, this movie offers something different stylistically right out of the gate. It is an interesting concept to be viewing everything through the eyes of a killer, but really, it seems more gimmicky than anything. Though it is cool to catch the killer's glance only through his reflections in mirrors or in puddles or in glass windows, it gets sort of tiresome rather quickly. Very rarely, the movie drifts into the third person shooting style. Remaining in the first person shot leads to graphically violent killing scenes with some of the most highly detailed murders I have ever seen. In fact, some of them were so disgusting, I had to turn away the majority of the time. These closely shot scalping scenes became too much, though I think a little bit of its efficacy was lost since it gets repeated over and over. Frank's initial killings range from strangling to a knife through the jaw, as well as drowning and slicing off a woman's Achilles's heel, which seems to be a favorite method of torture among certain directors and is one that always makes us shudder. Another problem with the first person shooting style is that we never get to read any emotion that travels across Wood's face, so we never get the sense that he might be remorseful or angry or upset while he is living out his life. The only emotion he is able to convey to the audience is through the tonality in his voice and the few times we get to see him in mirrors. Wood is able to convey so much through the inflections and anger in his voice that you don't really need to look at his face to tell how he feels. Though we never really see him all that often, Elijah Wood is just creepy enough based off of his face and the tone of his voice alone to illicit an excellent creepy factor, though Frodo would never. The entire film banks on Wood's ability to capture the evil of a maniacal killer and whether or not audiences can accept the first person style of camerawork.

This remake and the original version from 1980 with the same name that are both worth a watch for true horror fans.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Poltergeist"

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