Halloween Horror #4 / New To Blu: Maniac

Now THIS is how you remake a horror movie. 

Franck Khalfoun did an absolutely outstanding job remaking the 1980’s cult classic, Maniac. The original was mainly known for its visceral, unflinching view of a serial killer’s rampage and the new version keeps the same formula while simultaneously giving it a modern sheen. It’s hip nowadays to emulate 80’s movies but Maniac manages to keep the retro feel and atmosphere without being cliché.  It’s very rare that I think a remake is on par with the original film—this movie actually surpasses it, in my opinion.

Elijah Wood plays Frank Zito, a very disturbed young man with unsavory urges.  I was surprised to see him in this type of role but he managed to come off as very sinister and frightening.  This is not the cute little Hobbit you are used to seeing and I am glad he is taking on more interesting projects as he is a very good actor.  Maniac is filmed from Zito’s POV and while this can be very gimmicky, Khalfoun makes it look like a work of art.  You rarely see Zito’s face (except in mirrors or reflections) but when you do it has an incredible impact.  The editing and effects give it a surreal feeling--almost like you are watching someone’s nightmares.

You might actually have nightmares after watching it because this movie is one of the most brutal films I have ever seen.  The gore is excellent and done with top-notch practical effects.  The deaths are beautiful in a way--much like a Dario Argento film and each one is intricate and well-executed. The soundtrack to this movie is gorgeous. It’s full of synthetic Goblin-esque tracks and various 80’s songs.  It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard in recent memory and very reminiscent of the 80′s Eurosynth styled score from the movie Drive.

Maniac was a pleasant surprise because I am usually skeptical of remakes and very often disappointed with the quality of them.  My expectations were greatly surpassed and I will even say this is one of the best horror movies I have seen this year.  It comes highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of the original film or 80’s style slashers.

-Review by Michelle Kisner