Newest Reviews
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Young Wives' Tale
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
  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 1604 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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: