To a whole generation, Elijah Wood is Frodo Baggins, but since his departure from the Lord of the Rings franchise he done quite a bit to distance himself form this role and to spread his acting wings with a variety of different jobs. The most shocking, other than his brief cameo in Sin City as Kevin, and my personal favourite (after his appearance in Back to the Future 2) is the character of Frank in the 2013 film, Maniac.
Maniac is remake of the 1980 film of the same name, which I apologise that I have not seen, so I cannot comment on how the remake fairs compared to original; but the remake, to me personally is utter brilliance.
Watch our for *SPOILERS* in the upcoming plot description!
The story follows mannequin restorer, Frank, who ends up befriending artist, Anna, who takes in interest in his work as she wants to use his mannequins for an upcoming art show that she has. Little does she know that Frank is not as nice and quiet as she originally thinks. Frank has had a very troubled past due to his relationship with his mother (isn’t that how all disturbed killers start?!) and takes it upon himself to fill his life with other women. Although instead of just wining and dining them and taking them home after a night out, he likes to scalp his victims and place their scalps on on some of his restored mannequins. He talks to the various women in his life and treats them like his actual partner, until he realises that Anna is the one for him and she is going to take the place of all the other victims. He wants to take her home to meet his mother, which isn’t as easy as it sounds!
Whilst it could sound like Maniac is just your run of the mill remake of an 80s horror film, much like a lot of the cinematic offerings from the horror genre these days, you will be mistaken. Maniac uses first person shooting to bring the audience into the mind of Frank and give us a very unique perspective on the events that unfold. Elijah Wood narrates over the top of film, so we are given not only a visual from Frank’s point of view, but also what is going on in his head at the time as well. It almost seems like an insanely dark version of Peep Show. Some may not enjoy this style of filming, but I personally felt it brought so much to the film, and allowed it to have a lot more freedom, because the audience is drawn in on such a personal level with Frank.
The script was adapted by Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur who have previously written Switchblade Romance and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. If you are familiar with either of these movies then you will know that you are in good hands when it comes to this movie. Franck Khalfoun was the director and his previously worked the pair on other projects, including being an actor in Switchblade Romance.
Here is the opening 6 minutes of the film, to see if it peaks your interest!