Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Elijah Wood has been off the grid lately. Sure he appeared in the Hobbit (obviously), but he hasn't
pitched a starring role in quite a while. So when a small time trailer connecting Elijah and serial killer, I was surprised; not of his return, but his role choice.
Maniac - have you heard of this movie? you are about to, not only through my opinion, but many others. Directed by Franck Khalfoun, Maniac is best described as outlandish, introducing a dark and gritty concept that takes grotesque to a new level.
An introduction of retro style music and dark scenes of mean streets, Maniac delivers a sequence of pure class upon the introduction of Frank (Elijah Wood); a deranged stalker of the streets. From the off we see this kid lacks everything except his skill for murder. Visioned through the eyes of Frank, the grotesque method is forced upon as he stalks, whispers and inevitably chases his first victim through the hallway of a hotel - BOOM - slashed in epic style, the retro music enforces the title of the movie to bolder the screen, Maniac, in thick red old school font. What I was in for? I thought I knew, I was wrong.
Tormented by his nightmarish upbringing, Frank lives in a shop occupied by mannequins; which seem to be his only company. However things change for Frank has his obsession for collecting human scalps is unwillingly put on hold as he meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder); a cute little french girl who takes a liking to the mannequins in his the shop. It is when she requests to rent the mannequins for an exhibition that sees a relationship evolve, but not the way Frank would have wanted it. Struggling to maintain his murderous obsession, Frank continues to slay the women of the streets, while trying to be a friend to Anna - which Frank knows mentally, can never happen.
Sure, people walked out of this movie and rightly so. But I on the other hand loved it. Maniac is a respected horror movie, shot using first person angles. I though that was bad ass because it provided and maintained a level of realness throughout the entire movie. We only get to see Frank in mirror reflections, which in most cases he is seen puking into the toilet as his horrendous physique gives off a shock-horror premise that pumps up the gore in every scene. Not to give too much away, but there is a scene when Frank is pursuing another female, chasing her through a train station and ending up in a car park. Thinking she got away Scott-free, we are with Frank under a car as he slashes her ankle, revealing the entire bone that just popped out of her skin!
There are moments in the movie that just spell unnecessary and down right haunting. We get a fine insight into what potentially drove this kid to insanity and yes it does include his mother in scenes that I can only describe as shock-horror. You might walk out remembering this movie for the wrong reasons. I had to overcome the fact that the deaths in this movie could of actually been the sacrifice of real humans - It is horrifically realistic.
Maniac arrived under the radar. I like those type of movies. Elijah Wood gives a brutal, yet static performance, even though the majority of sequences provide you with nothing other than his bloody hands. Was the plot logical? sure, in a way. I mean it is based on the mind of a serial killer suffering with problems bigger than female hatred. I have to agree with the poster; "a modern horror classic". We are too used to paying into movies that offer the potential of a good scare, but really, chances are, we have seen it time and time again. Maniac forcefully delivers a blender of ingredients mashed up of Michael Myers and Drive. Yes, if Drive was a horror, it would be this.
Overall: A strange movie, but one that is easy to follow. The stalking premise and grotesque scenes will send shivers down your spine. Forget ghosts and demons, Maniac has provided a window of opportunity for producers to follow a similar path.
It is a joy to watch if your squeamish...