Cert: 18 Runtime: 89 mins Director: Franck Khalfoun Cast: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Genevieve Alexandra, Jan Broberg, Liane Balaban and Joshua De La Garza
You’re So Beautiful
So for me horror is a genre that is lacking in many ways at the moment. A lot of classic films are being re-made and there is a massive infatuation with poltergeists and hand held cameras. Maniac falls into the category of the re-make, it originally came out in 1980 it was un-rated and banned in some countries. So skip forward to 2012/13 on my travels to Berlin I saw posters of Elijah Wood in a film called Maniac. I had no knowledge of the film. Due to a limited release of the film in the UK I waited for the Blu Ray release of it. What is Maniac then? Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt. Frank (Elijah Wood) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.
This is one of the most enjoyable horror films I’ve seen lately. It’s scary, interesting, very attractive and Elijah is just fantastic.In the opening scene you see how someone spies on young girls, who just leaved club. The face of this person is beyond camera, as if he himself shots the whole movie and it keeps like that afterwards. At the beginning I found this very annoying, but later I learned to “imagine” killer only with his voice and emotions, which was perfectly expressed by Elijah. Frank is way too merciless, he kills every beautiful (and only) woman, takes scalp and “transforms” her into mannequin wearing victim’s hair. At first, you do not guess reasons for it and consider Frank as a ruthless murderer, who just enjoys testing his power on feeble, less protected women. But later, as the camera starts shooting scenes from another angle, including killer in most of scenes, we start learning something about his personality and past. And then we start “understand” motive, which makes the whole idea more logical.Anna’s appearance in his life changes a lot, including himself – he becomes two persons – one loving her and trying to keep her safe, another forcing the first one to kill again, and again, and again. And he kills. Finally, all comes down to a logical, impressionable ending, that I consider to be one of the dignities of Maniac.
I loved how successively the plot was developing, along with characters. It helps a lot to follow such a hard-to-watch movie.These impressions boiled in my huge satisfaction in the end. All because of great directing work of Franck Khalfoun and a charming script of Alexandre Aja & Grégory Levasseur. Elijah’s performance as Frank is one of the bests in his career, at least what I’ve seen. His character is creepy and not easy to follow and blue eyes make him even creepier. Wood does an outstanding job by portraying unemotional cold blood killer, emotional lover and a person with MPD (multiple personality disorder).Maniac has some very impressive and beautiful shots, which on the one hand, made those mannequins alive and on the other hand, the movie felt more thrilling. The soundtrack is just amazing, which made every single scene more effective, horrifying – definitely. All in all, this movie is a great watching experience, and definitely one of the best films I have seen this year.