Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Maniac Call The Police There's A Madman Around
Year: 2012
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Stars: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Genevieve Alexandra, Liane Balaban, Jan Broberg, Joshua De La Garza, Megan Duffy, America Olivo, Ron Reznik, Steffinie Phrommany, Sal Landi, Akbar Kurtha, Aaron Colom, Bryan Lugo, Délé Ogundiran
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A young woman (Liane Balaban) is out clubbing one night in New York City and has decided to return home, but not to take a cab with her friend and catch another instead. However, she is being watched surreptitiously by a driver across the street who begins to follow her; when she notices she quickens her pace, stumbling but getting away, though the observer notes aloud he knows where she lives anyway. He plans to catch up with her at her apartment, and when he does he approaches the woman, alarming her; soon she is dead of a knife injury, and the murderer takes her hair as a trophy...

He being the Maniac of the title, one Frank, a sufferin' psycho played by Elijah Wood. Elijah Wood?! He had tried this trick before of being the bad guy in Sin City, but for countless audiences this was still Frodo, so seeing him adopt the role of a serial killer was a pretty hard to accept, especially when every time we saw him he had the same pained, troubled by indigestion expression on his face. That might have been why the movie had a trick of its own, and played out the action through the point of view of the killer, so we didn't have to have the jarring for the wrong reason images of the innocent Hobbit getting up to no good.

Of course, Wood wasn't really playing a Hobbit here, he didn't have the big feet or anything and wasn't three feet tall, but his whiny voice was less likely to evoke pity for a pathetic killer and more likely to have you wanting one of those women to stand up to him. But there was another problem, and that was the long shadow cast by Joe Spinell, the actor who had taken the part in the original version of Maniac. In that grindhouse favourite, he was such a sleazy performer and so obviously getting off on his role as a reprobate creep that it gave the production a real and uncomfortable charge, something that was never going to be the case when watching Wood.

You could reason that a baby faced killer was more worrying when their behaviour didn't match up to their apparent butter wouldn't melt appearance, but Spinell inhabited the role so effectively that if you had seen his performance any comparisons came up wanting for the 2012 effort; it was never going to be a popular reading, but it did stick in the mind for its baleful seediness. As if recognising that, director Franck Khalfoun and his team (which included Alexandre Aja co-scripting, yet again on remake duties) dropped more than a couple references to the first Maniac, as well as one for The Silence of the Lambs - seriously, if you went round to a girl's apartment and she started playing that song you'd be uneasy.

Except it's she who should be concerned, but this was another instance of the film taking the audience out of the experience to remind them they were watching a movie, as if the subjective camerawork was not doing that enough. Technically, it was impressive, but had been more vivid as the introduction to a blatant influence, the introduction to Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, even if it did come across like a ninety minute tribute to the video for The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up only with a serial killer as the lead character. A French co-production, that explained why the photographer this time around was played by Nora Arnezeder, befriending Frank for some reason, not realising he has a collection of mannequins sporting the scalps of his victims in his bedroom. Any psychology about mommy issues was tired at this late stage in the genre, and the scenes where he chases down the women were curiously underpopulated, but the biggest question mark came when he threw a grown man through a locked door: had Elijah been working out? Neat electronic score by Rob. Just Rob.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2020 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: