Maniac (2013)

Elijah Wood is a long, long way away from The Shire in Maniac. This time around, he plays Frank, a young man with a traumatizing past. Frank works at his families Mannequin restoration shop where he works alone. On the side, he works as a serial killer who stalks his victims and pretends that they’re his mother due to their nice hair. So, there’s that. Oh, and he scalps his victims and puts their hair on top of his Mannequins and talks to them. He’s just your average Mannequin owner…

What really stands out and is unique about this movie is the fact that it’s shot almost entirely from Frank’s Point Of View. You see him follow and brutally kill these women from his eyes. Occasionally, you’ll see him in a mirror or window, but you really only see his hands which hold his sharp blades. It’s a very different approach to a horror/slasher film because you know where he is hiding and what he is going to do. The element of surprise is taken away, but that almost makes it even scarier/creepier.

Visually, this film is very stunning. The look and feel to everything is very polished and appealing to the eye. What, for some, is not visually appealing is the amount of gore in this film and how it’s presented. It’s not a “blood spewing everywhere” kind of horror movie, but there are many moments that are very straightforward with what Frank is going to do. It’s gross, creepy, an definitely did a good job of living up to a slasher reputation. Personally, I’m not a huge horror fan, but I really liked the psychological aspect to this film. It gave me more than just gore. It also didn’t give me a lot, which you can view in my Top Ten Thoughts on Maniac!

 

Gandalf and the Hobbits can’t protect you any longer, Mr. Frodo…

What I Enjoyed

What I Didn’t Enjoy

It’s really nice to see Elijah Wood doing something outside of anything Lord of the Rings related!

This films’ blood level is very high. There is a lot of blood. Be warned.

The choice to shoot primarily from POV is fantastic and pays off in the end. Very well done!

The way that we see most of this blood is often through gruesome methods involving a knife. Gross and sickening to watch.

There’s a certain beauty that this film has within its’ story and imagery.

The only downside to shooting POV is that we lose the element of surprise. This is not a jump-scare movie.

This is not just a slasher film. Maniac has a backstory, emotion, and you feel kind of bad for Wood’s character.

Even though there is a “romantic lead”, you never really get around to caring for her character or safety.

This film does a great job of frightening you with every scene and will have you double-taking when you see a mannequin.

This film can’t help but fall into many cliche pitfalls. It’s rather unfortunate to see because the film has some potential to be much better.

Wood’s character development throughout the film is rather good. Somewhat surprising to see in a horror film.

There are many images that are very unsettling and gut-wrenching that don’t necessarily have to involve scalping. My weak stomach really helped me there.

The psychological aspect of this film succeeds in messing with your mind and making you fear for certain people or things. It’s kind of like and episode of Criminal Minds.

The film gets very slow in a lot of parts and can start to lose your interest.

Wood gives a great performance. He proves that he isn’t just Frodo by choosing the furthest possible role from a Hobbit.

Lots of things are left unexplained in this film. Had they been explained, the ending would have made a lot more sense (at least to me).

The whole “mommy issues” part of the film is incorporated very well into certain scenes and it allows us to “sympathize” a little bit with Wood’s character.

You’re never going to see mannequins the same ever again. You can’t un-see a lot of this film, unfortunately.

This is a pretty good psychological thriller and will definitely leave you creeped out in the end. It succeeds in most goals that it sets out to achieve!

This film, while having its’ scary moments, doesn’t live up to its’ marketed scariness and often has you slightly uninterested.

Overall:

Maniac is a great slasher flick. You get scalping, stabbing, slicing, and even some spewing. That’s great, if that’s what you’re into… Maniac is also a pretty decent psychological thriller. You’ll be freaked out and frightened at a lot of what you will see. In those senses, it succeeds. In the sense of horror, I think it kind of fails. It’s slow and dull in a lot of different places and you really only find yourself caring about the serial killer (ironic). Regardless, this is a great thriller to watch with your friends on a dark and rainy Friday night. In fact, if your Friday this week is dark and gloomy, fear not, for you can watch this movie today at https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/maniac/id658109926

Maniac Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD02QssnO7w

3.5 STARS!!!

3.5 / 5 stars     

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