Maniac (2012)

Maniac 2012

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls}

I didn’t think there was any way Elijah Wood would ever be able to creep me out more than he did as Kevin in Sin City, but I stand corrected. Don’t be fooled by Wood’s usual Hobbit-y, childish demeanor; in the remake of the classic 1980 horror film Maniac, Wood is a scary-stalky-scalping monster.

Wood plays Frank, a shy mannequin store owner who targets young women with lush manes of gorgeous hair, kills them, then brings their scalps home to place on top of mannequins so he can pretend they’re his girlfriends — all while having imaginary conversations with his dead, abusive mother.

Director Franck Khalfoun made the bold decision to film almost all of his update from the killer’s POV; he breaks from it in a few scenes, but for the most part, the only times you see Frank’s face are in reflection, which ups the creep factor by like 10,000.

Kalfoun keeps the original’s themes pretty close too, even down to how each murder occurs. And the gore, ohman THE GORE. I appreciated just how bloody and uncomfortably slow each scalping was. Even for someone like me, it was pretty vomit-inducing, and really impressive.

I also appreciated him sneaking in Q Lazarus’ “Goodbye Horses” during an ill-fated seduction scene. Nice Silence of the Lambs reference, sir. I tip my hat to you.

The ending was a little scattered but part of that is due to the source material, and as a whole, the scares were really effective. I don’t think I’ll be visiting any mannequin shops anytime soon, and I’ll also never be able to watch the LOTR trilogy without picturing Frodo saying, “I know where you live.” and yielding a giant knife.

*shiver*

So, yeah. Heartily recommended for horror fans. But the rest of you should probably think twice before buying a ticket …

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