MANIAC

This chilly October night felt like the perfect time to sit down and watch the remake of William Lustig’s 1980 cult classic of the same name. The plot is essentially identical: Frank, (played disturbingly by Elijah Wood) a severely troubled man who is still effected by childhood abuse and the recent death of his mother, goes around Manhattan killing women he finds to be beautiful and taking their scalps as trophies. Frank owns a mannequin restoration shop and he keeps some of his favorites in the apartment behind the store where he lives…for really creepy reasons. When he meets the beautiful French photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder) he has a difficult time of keeping both sides of his life separate, especially when she becomes a big part of his life, professionally and as a new friend. As his obsession builds the more bodies stack up.

Other than the plot this film is very different from the original. The entire movie is shot through Frank’s eyes and we only ever see his face in reflection and in his creepy daydreams. In fact we don’t see his face until about 12 minutes in. While an innovative and different take on the slasher sub-genre, there were a few times that I grew a little tired of seeing everything in first person, but not enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the film. It did allow the audience to see things very differently. To focus on other characters and the surrounding visuals, through the eyes of this absolute lunatic was pretty rad. Instead of doing the same old thing. To say that some scenes were very disconcerting would be the understatement of the year. Being that we’re seeing everything through a guy who’s pretty much totally disconnected from reality, not 100% of what we’re seeing can be taken at face value; most of it yes, but not everything. I’m also a fan that not everything that makes Frank tick is spelled out for us. Even after the movie is over there is still plenty of mystery left. Lets you think about things as the credits roll.

I really dug the way this movie was shot. Not unlike other films, but really well done and a nice change here. I loved the soundtrack. Composed by “Rob,” it was like a mash-up of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and A Clockwork Orange. Absolutely perfect. Loved the nod to The Silence of the Lambs as well, had to sing along during that scene. The style of the film kept bringing me back to the movie Drive, maybe it was the pseudo-80’s vibe and the soundtrack along with both posters having the title spelled out in a retro typeface and in hot pink. Who knows. I like it. It’s awesome. That’s what matters.

This was a neat, disturbing slasher flick and definitely worth at least renting, if not owning. The acting is great, the kills are gruesome and awesome. Rad movie, wonderfully shaped by few-time director Franck Khalfoun. While I enjoy the original enough see another one or two times, I thought this new version was a far superior film. Cool little movie, not overly flashy. Nice blend of dark and gritty along with sleek, glass-like sheen. If that makes any sense. Liked it more than total grungy, dirtiness of the original. At a quick 80 minutes this movie never loses it’s pace and leaves no time to be bored.

“Watch it fuck-face!”

A-

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