This puppy ain’t for the squeamish but for what all intents and purposes should have been just another derivative, generic horror slasher flick MANIAC is one of the most well executed body count movies I’ve seen in quite some time.
Writer/Producer Alexandre Aja (Switchblade Romance, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) and director Franck Kalfoun have taken the original 1980 source material and refashioned it so that you spend the whole time looking at the world through our killers demented vision. The only time you see our big bad is when he’s looking in the mirror.
Elijah Wood’s insistence to push himself out of the safe roles he’s best known for continues here as the mentally unhinged Frank, who runs the family mannequin restoration business by himself now that his mother has been dead for a year. In his downtime though, our Frank has a much more sadistic vocation. He brutally kills and scalps beautiful women.
I’ll not go any further into the plot details except to say that, while it does provide plenty of gore for your buck it is the symbolism in the use of mannequins, the stilted and distancing dialogue Frank uses in his limited interactions with people, the really impressive sound design and the extremely tortured performance from Wood that drive MANIAC out of being another forgettable slasher flick.
This isn’t for the faint of heart but MANIAC is a solid piece of horror entertainment and Alexandre Aja is certainly the man to reboot old horror properties.