Whelp, that’s gonna be a tough one to forget. Franck Khalfoun’s loose remake of the 1980 horror film of the same name is an exercise in shock-value and voyeurism. This is the first movie I’ve watched and written about that I really didn’t care for. It had certain elements that I enjoyed (like the format, but more on that later) and Elijah Wood doing his creepy thing, but overall it was a bit excessive and pointlessly crude.
Maniac is told from the perspective of Frank, the owner of a mannequin shop, and fittingly, a serial killer as well. One of the better parts of the movie is the opening, in which it introduces us to Franks routine of how he finds his victims. It’s a really creepy opening, and it’s also a way of introducing the viewer to how the movie is told; all from a first-person perspective. Frank isn’t filming anything, like it’s Blair Witch or Cloverfield, but the entire movie is seen through his eyes. That aspect of Maniac is definitely the best part, but it’s utilized in such a gross, self-indulgent movie that I could see it working a lot better in something else.
Anyway, the plot that surrounds Frank’s twisted and bizarre character isn’t very memorable. He starts to fall in love with a beautiful artist who wants to use some of his mannequins for her art show. By then, the movie shows that any time he gets close to a woman, he ends up hurting her, although deep down he really doesn’t want to. One of the most memorable scenes is Frank out to dinner with a woman on a date. It’s really uncomfortable to watch, as there’s a bit of a creepy ‘Norman Bates’ thing going on with him. Oh, and he also wants to make women into mannequins. Like I said, it’s a pretty bizarre movie, but Elijah Wood actually helps a lot in making you feel for Frank, with his innocent face and earnest voice (when he’s not in the throes of insanity).
Overall, I think the movie undermines itself a bit, in having so much gore and excessive violence, but maybe that’s a part of the original they wanted to keep, I’m not sure. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but then again not everything is for everyone. It’s fine to not like every single thing you watch, and with plenty more days of summer (and movies) to go, I’m sure it’s bound to happen again. Thanks for reading!