Here we go again...yet another remake of a low-budget grindhouse horror flick from the 1980s. "Maniac" is the latest such remake, but thankfully it satisfies on most all horror levels.
Frank (Elijah Wood) is a lonely, eccentric young man who owns a mannequin store. In the brutal opening 5 minutes, we learn quickly that Frank likes to stalk then kill attractive females.
It’s when he meets artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) that things get complicated and he falls in love. We learn even more about Frank: He grew up with a domineering mother, and he’s also prone to popping anxiety pills as though they’re candy.
As grisly as the film is, the filmmakers have made both an art film and a horror film at the same time. This "Maniac" veers into a different direction from the 1980 original: It’s mostly filmed using Frank’s point-of-view.
The casting of Elijah Wood in the title role is both surprising and unsettling. This is discussed in the Blu-ray’s "The Making of Maniac" documentary, an almost hour-long dive into the film. Mr. Wood is interviewed, and the best part of the documentary follows him around, showing how the film was shot using the P.O.V. style. Sometimes he was actually the one filming the movie; other times he’s behind the camera man or just out of frame. It’s an interesting documentary for film buffs and those interested in filmmaking.
Deleted scenes and a poster gallery, along with an audio commentary from Wood and director Franck Khalfoun are also on the Blu-ray. All are very good special features, and along with the film itself makes "Maniac" a must-have for horror fans.