Following the death of his prostitute mother, Frank Zito (Elijah Wood) struggles with homicidal tendencies in which he kills women and adds their scalps to his collection of vintage mannequins. After striking up a friendship with aspiring photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder), Frank tries desperately to have a normal relationship, but controlling his violent urges becomes a terrifying psychological battle…
This remake of William Lustig’s famed 1980 film, which also has elements of the notorious Don’t Go in the House thrown in, is more gruesome and disturbing than the original, especially as the viewer is forced to see everything, including some explicit acts of ritual murder, from the killer’s point of viewer.
If Elijah Wood ever wanted to divorce himself from being known as loveable hobbit Frodo then he has succeeded with this gruesome film, playing a serial killer who kills women in an act of revenge/punishment against his dead mother, who forced him to watch her have sex with her clients when he was a child.
Even though its hard to watch at times, Maniac is immaculately shot, and if director Franck Khalfoun‘s intention was to pay homage to Argento’s giallo classics The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and The Cat O’ Nine Tails with his neon-lit, rain-soaked city night scenes and his PoV death scenes, then he has hit the mark in this visually stunning exercise in sado-voyeurism. The Rob electro score, meanwhile, is so hauntingly brilliant that I immediately rushed out and bought the Death Waltz UK release. Maniac has certainly got ‘cult’ written all over it.
Released 1 July 2013 from Metrodome