I have to commend this movie for its bold choice to almost entirely shoot it as if it was from the POV of the killer. It really added an extra layer of creepiness to the viewing experience and gave it this unique and captivating edge that really makes the movie stand apart from most modern horror movies. By experiencing the bulk of the story through Frank’s own eyes you got this really sleazy, intimate insight to his twisted mind, and it perfectly set up the uncomfortable and creepy tone to the entire movie. Speaking of creepy, another thing I liked about the movie was the trophies Frank collected: human scalps. Very unique and disturbing choice for a serial killer trophy. They even managed to give it a clever back story by tying it to his mannequin and mother complex. And the way he stapled the scalps to his special mannequins and pretended they were his girlfriends, now that really was disgusting and horrid to witness. Especially after you realized he just leaves them like that, without even cleaning out the still wet blood, so very quickly you had a ton of flies buzzing around the apartment. There were so many small details that went to this movie that combined made this so wonderfully macabre and fun to watch.
I’m not usually a big Elijah Wood fan but he was superb in this, especially whenever he starts to go into his crazy slasher mode. I have some newfound respect for his work and I might actually need to look up what else he has done in the past few years on the off chance they prove to be of the same caliber as Maniac. I have to assume the the synth soundtrack was in part a conscious nod to 80s, when the original Maniac was made. And it worked well to create this right kind of unique, scary atmosphere for the whole movie. It’s kinda very reminiscent of John Carpenter’s older movies. You don’t get the same vibe from normal scores, there’s something inherently violent and dangerous about the synth sound that works so well with movies with a dark tone to them.
Honestly, I was not expecting to like this movie as much as I did. It’s easily one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a long time and the fact that it’s a remake took me by complete surprise. Usually modern remakes completely fail to be entertaining, let alone spooky. This is the exact opposite. If this remake ended up being this good, I’m genuinely intrigued to see some day what the original was like.