Maniac (2012) Miller Meter-6.5/10

Directed By:  Franck Khalfoun

Written By:  Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, Joe Spinell (original screenplay)

Starring:  Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, America Olivo, Megan Duffy

NR     1 h 29 min – Horror | Thriller

Here’s one of the quirkiest little horror flicks I’ve come across on Netflix and it stars Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder and America Olivo.  Frank (Wood) is a lonely mannequin shop owner with an oversized bag of issues (after all, he owns a mannequin shop).  He’s troubled mostly due to the fact that his prostitute mother wasn’t really the best at keeping her occupation under wraps and he creepily watched her work most nights.  The result was a pretty campy horror flick villain with an insatiable urge to kidnap and kill women, and shortly after he would scalp them and take the hair home and play dress up with his mannequin girlfriends.  Some point along the way he meets Anna, and up and coming artist who shows an uncomfortable interest in his shop and it becomes the subject of some of her photos.  He develops a cliché stalker type crush on her and starts stalking her a little heavier than his ex-girls.  Now don’t be too quick to judge him, he really tries to suppress this urge to scalp chicks and often we’re exposed to inner conflict he has just before he does the dirty.  It twists and turns and ends in a pretty insane climax.  What I liked about this one was that it was 99% first person, and I gotta say, seeing women serial-killed through the killer’s eyes is pretty unique and intense to say the least. There were times I was overly irritated at how cheesy and campy the dialogue became, and just LISTENING to Elijah talk like a total creeper didn’t feel as powerful as SEEING him could have been.  The gore was pretty decent, it was well placed and realistic and never too much or too artificial in fact I thought there could have been more of it.  To be honest the first time shit got real I was a little taken back, I didn’t expect it to go that route!  I give it a mediocre rating simply based on the fact that it was stupid sometimes, just flat out stupid.  Other times a successful horror flick that totally creeped me out.  Most of the actresses were borderline talentless but Elijah carried enough weight to keep the film afloat.  Overall, it was decent.  It was inventive, edgy and new.  The script was as close to worthless as a major motion picture’s script can be but somehow I kept watching.  With some more talent and a higher budget, some serious help on the script this thing could have been pretty wicked.  I could see it scaring some for sure, I guess being a bit of a horror snob it takes just a bit more than watching murder through Elijah’s baby blues to get me terrified, but seeing some serious serial killin’ like this definitely changes the game a bit.  You’ll notice that I omitted any reference to it’s original and that’s because I haven’t seen the original, but as soon as I do, I’ll write on it!

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