PLOT: As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop’s deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface.
If a few minutes into a movie you double check to make sure you’re not watching a snuff film by mistake, then I suppose the people who made it did something right. Maniac was that kind of a movie. The gore parts were so extreme and so graphic and so beautifully (and I use the term loosely of course) done that you have to give kudos to Franck Khalfoun. Of course he totally ruined Elijah Wood for me so there’s that, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay to watch a genius at work. The only trouble was, that genius began and ended at the concept and the kills. I know a lot of people are admiring this remake and the fact that you view the movie through the psychopath’s eyes and everything you see is from his POV but for me, the stylistic manner in which the film was presented was a bit of a miss.
Frank, our main character who also happens to be a schizophrenic serial killer in his spare time, is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill. On a horror movie scale, sure it’s worth one watch because its definitely got some good things, and perhaps the discomfort of being inside Frank’s POV was how it was meant to be but for me the problem was the cliched serial killer thoughts and character and back story. This could have been a really good film, it had the potential but the typical routines that are used to propel the story forward were a certain miss.
If the writing was a little more intelligent and a plot a little more thought out this would have been an actual winner in my opinion. As it is, Maniac presents the usual trite subject matter with a new technique which may or may not appeal to you. But just when I was getting used to the idea of being inside that twisted little head, the film comes to it’s climax which by the way, happened to be perfect. Perhaps if this was a short work (which coincidentally it was in 1980 but since I haven’t seen it, I cannot comment on that one) or if the writer and director had taken more time and effort to flesh out the story or perhaps get it written from a better writer, this would have been so much better. Right now, it’s a hot mess as far as I’m concerned because I do adore that ending.
I would love to hear what you thought of it!