Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight. Maniac is what’s known as
a slasher film. Think horror, think thriller and think lots of blood and murder. I
don’t blame you if you click away now.
For those with a stronger stomach, read on. Maniac is a remake of the 1980’s cult
horror film about a seriously disturbed man who scalps his female victims.
A weedy-looking, yet highly deadly Elijah Woods stars as Frank Zito, a quiet
and reclusive young man who restores mannequins as a living. Often meeting
unsuspecting women online, the first time they meet inevitably ends in the
woman’s last moments of living. Once home, Frank staples their bloody scalps
to the various mannequins he has dotted around his apartment and these form
part of his fantasy land; allowing him to have ‘girlfriends’. Often, Frank enjoys
one-sided conversations with his mother, who we discover as the story unveils,
was an abusive drugged up prostitute. Frank grows up exposed to much of his
mother’s activities and eventually murders her, leaving himself orphaned.
And then Frank meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder – she’s beautiful and dainty
and you easily fall in love with her), an artist whose ‘thing’ is to photograph
mannequins. Fascinated by Frank’s collection, Anna, persuades Frank to let
her ‘adopt’ some of his mannequins and perhaps slightly overwhelmed by her
reverence of them, Frank welcomes their friendship.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a happy ending with slasher films, and Maniac is
no different. Triggered on the night of Anna’s art exhibition, Frank starts a killing
spree, which culminates in a heart-stopping pursuit of Anna. At the end of the
film, the viewer is hit hard with the realities of the extent of Frank’s killing, his
delusions and failure to comprehend fully what he’s been doing.
Maniac appears quite dark and gloomy, except for instances where Anna brings
some light into Frank’s life. Set from a first person’s point of view, you become
the hunter, feel Frank’s pain and glimpse an understanding into why he does
what he does. There’s almost sympathy. Almost.
Some say it’s a love story. If it is, it’s certainly an unrequited one. And one that
you’d never want to be on the receiving end of.
Although beautifully shot, (I’ll give it that) it is still a film about a total crazy
person with a lethal and downrightly weird fascination with women’s hair. For
me, I almost couldn’t focus on the story because the gore was so overwhelming
(if you’ve ever wondered what a scalp looks and sounds like when it’s being
peeled from a woman’s head, this is the film for you) and I walked home
constantly looking over my shoulder. However, it was a film I’ll certainly not
forget in a while.
Watch the trailer here:
Maniac will be in cinemas 15th March nationwide.
Maniac stars Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder and American Olivo and is directed by
Words by Eliza