Deeply disturbing, for a film I just dived into blindly I was not prepared for it (especially when I wasn’t feeling well!)
Elijah Wood plays a serial killer who stalks and targets young women and after stabbing them to death, he scalps them and staples their hair onto mannequins so they can live with him.
Yeah, so I picked this up because of one reason: Elijah Wood in an 18-rated horror, would it be good or laughable since his fame as a Hobbit? The answer is yes, it is extremely good… a little too good.
What hits hardest about the film, is that Maniac is shot entirely through the eyes of our killer; the film puts you in the driver’s seat of this stalking, chasing, butchering and frightful man, exposing his inner demons and psychosis along the way. It is very unpleasant to watch in this perspective. As you’d expect, we don’t see Elijah unless he is looking at a mirror (and a couple of deliberate moments of psychosis) yet his acting is mesmerising all the same. Towards the end, if you make it that far, you begin to learn about why he does these terrible things.
Of course, as his killing spree continues, there is evidence of police investigation, but this is massively underplayed; the film’s dedication to its use of perspective does not budge, and uses little to grant levity. The only humanity is portrayed through his relationship with a young photographer who he actually managed to have dialogue with.
In terms of physical effects, they are extremely effective and gory. Since the film is a remake of an old grindhouse film, I can safely say these effects live up to the vintage film style!
It really puts all modern slasher films to shame in its execution alone, and in terms of horror I find this far more unpleasant to watch than say… The Human Centipede. As such I can’t say I enjoyed the film, but I can respect how it challenged me.