Elijah Wood seeks an image change in Maniac, a sickeningly brutal and slightly irritating remake of the 1980 psycho-slasher flick. Shot almost entirely from a killer’s point of view, Maniac rubs me the wrong way.
I suppose it should rub me the wrong way. It is about a dude with major mommy issues (mommas, don’t let your kids watch you having three-ways!) killing and scalping women, after all. For me, Maniac gets slotted with the likes of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as being a little too successful in achieving a high level of depravity.
Still, I’ve never been one to shy away from horror films. In many ways, this is a well-made movie; for gore hounds, it features some first-rate bloody effects. However, the POV gimmick does the movie in, and takes things into snuff-film territory.
Wood remains mostly unseen, because we are seeing the film through his eyes. There are some sequences involving mirrors, and times when the director gets tired of obscuring Wood, during which Frodo shows his face. He’s actually an effective psycho-stalker, with those fishbowl eyes getting put to deranged use.
I can’t totally condemn this on a horror-film level. I just never need to see it again, and I can’t recommend it to anybody who likes to have a good, entertaining time while watching a movie.
Maniac is currently available via iTunes and IFC on Demand.