Saturday, November 16, 2013
This reasonably faithful remake of William Lustig's infamous 80's sleaze-sterpiece about a serial killer who scalps his victims and puts the scalps on mannequins in his apartment and pretends they are his girlfriends (hmm maybe you had to be there), throws an interesting twist in: most of the film is shot from the perspective of the maniac himself (Elijah Wood), only cutting to a 3rd person perspective on a few brief occasions.
The original Maniac is far from perfect, but it is incredibly memorable for the weird, scuzzy, gritty tone it achieves, as well as some shocking violence and a handful of effective set pieces. So it's interesting that director Franck Khaloun (the underrated P2) follows the story fairly closely, but completely changes the style. Not only does he adopt the intriguing 1st person POV gimmick, but his film is all slick, stylish and professional.
The gimmick itself is basically pointless except that it's well executed from a technical perspective and adds an additional layer of entertainment to a pretty straightforward serial killer/slasher story. I would have preferred if the filmmakers had attempted more long takes and played around more with the subjectivity of the events we are seeing through the maniac's eyes. Yet, if they don't go above and beyond in using the gimmick to do something new, they at least don't fuck it up and instead craft a tense, disturbing horror film with a fully realized central character. It succeeds not so much because of the gimmick but in spite of it, or unrelated to it, and that's okay. I'd take a hundred more movies like this over another "found footage" POV horror movie any day.