Since I have not seen the original Maniac (1980) hence this movie for me had no prerequisite anticipatory factor attached to it. Also since slasher movie genre doesn’t hold so much of a charm on me so I took this movie in a stride, if you know what I mean. I was highly impressed by Elijah Wood in Sin City, his cold calculated cannibalistic killer portrayal had an allure to it and just so as to revisit that coldness I went into Maniac.
Now one thing I can guarantee about Maniac is it’s quite difficult to stay indifferent to it. It’s ruthlessly executed. The P.O.V approach is spot on, for then you truly tend to understand what goes inside that head of his. After a point of time it turns into a personal experience of sorts and this is what P.O.V brings to the table. The strain and the blurry visions when Frank has those migraines reciprocates his own pain and you first hand live through his troubled life, feeding into his dreams and upon his preys. It would be incorrect to call Maniac a slasher movie, it does have elements resembling the Slasher genre but in it’s nuances you find a whole gamut of emotions colliding and forging his actions. It explores Frank inside out and in turn generates sympathy for him. His loneliness and his apprehensions in confronting his emotions tend to make him more than a simple antagonist. As Frank you feel cheated, angry and a sick desperation to manifest these emotions into something violent. I won’t say if it was meant to be an allegory of sorts on the society and it’s structure but it sure was an interesting character study.
Technically the movie is superbly done, the P.O.V might be a little discomforting to start with but soon it settles in, there are portions where the continuity is broken but those are real Cathartic situations and so the idea in itself justifies the break of continuity. As for the performances, Elijah Wood; not so visible save in mirrors is still terrific, his voice for much of the movie brings out the desperation inside him. He is truly an underrated actor with such vast potential, it’s just a matter of putting in a straw and sucking out the talent. Even Nora as Anna puts in a nice performance, looking straight into the camera and with no source to compliment her performance she manages to pull it off real nice. Overall Maniac in terms of story offers nothing new but the treatment is worth the accolades. It might seem hollow at times and Frank a little clichéd but still for the sheer experimentation and experience of it, Maniac at least a one time watch.