Maniac (2012, Franck Khalfoun)
This movie is a remake. This movie is okay. And those are the only facts you can say for sure – all the rest is the matter of movie taste. For me, it is a good movie in a way and at some points I was even thrilled. A friend I watched the movie with said how the movie seems nice, and twenty minutes later he just fell asleep.
So, first things first: the movie is about a character who has fetish for scalps. He owns a mannequin shop, kills girls and takes their hair to put it on some of the mannequins. He meets a girl photographer interested in taking photos of the mannequins. Maniac’s world pulsates and his scalp obsession grows as they are getting closer.
The first great thing about this movie is that Elijah Wood is the maniac. He brought out the maniac’s deepest passions and used the tone of voice we haven’t often had chance to hear in his movies. The voice was crucial since we don’t get to see him a lot. That’s the second great thing – we are watching everything from the maniac’s point of view. When he sees everything blurry, everything’s blurry for us, too. When he focuses on the neck of a beauty that he is about to kill, we also breathe near her neck. Stephen King says that monsters live inside us, and I guess that maniacs are kind of monsters. This time our monsters are awoken and we become the maniacs. That’s what gives this horror a dose of good tension.
On the other hand, Anne the photographer is very regular horror character and that spoils the originality. She is one of those naive girls and the viewer just can’t escape that need to yell at her: “Run, you stupid, can’t you see he is going to kill you?!“
Her and maniac’s character are in misbalance, the maniac is created with more details and biography points that explain his behavior, while she is just a regular victim. He has some flashbacks (we have some flashbacks!) when he remembers his mother who was a drug addict and easy woman. We can see how she neglected him in childhood, so we can understand how did he develop his unusual hobbies. His complicated relationship with mother is something that makes him remind us of Norman Bates and other Hitchcock characters. Though, this movie isn’t precise as any of Hitchcock’s movies. It is fun for watching, shocking at some moments and well-organized, but it is not something you will remember for the rest of your life.
Still, that’s not a reason to skip it. On the contrary, it could make your evening great. It is scary, but not too scary. You won’t need the lights on when you go to sleep. It is a horror with the right amount of the blood and screams. It is spiced up with an original music, quite appropriate for the genre, still very modern and impressible.
Finally, I hope you will decide to dedicate some time to this movie and make your own conclusion. Try to test yourself as a maniac and good luck!