TJF’s House of Horror Maniac

He’s a maniac, MANIAC, on the floor…..

There comes a time in every man’s life when he finds that girl that he doesn’t want to brutally murder before he scalps her. Isn’t love grand? In Maniac, Elijah Wood plays that dude. Hell, it’s a love story –at least that is what I told my wife to trick her into watching it. She hates horror films.

Wood plays Frank, a moon-lighting serial killer with the most exciting day job in the world — a mannequin restorer! Ok, so not that exciting, but it’s a family trade. By night, Frank stalks his victims through online dating. He meets them and charms them through his quirky little public panic attacks. Somehow, these chicks still go home with this dude.  Once he gets back to their place, he kills them in various ways and then scalps them. He does all this so he can use their scalp on his personal collection of mannequins.

One day, he meets Anna (played by the Nora Arnezeder). She just happens to be a cute, hipster chick who fancies photographing old mannequins for art. That is like a match made in heaven. Well, except for all the murder.

Despite the fact this movie drips with hipster culture (oh, the humanity oddly-shaped mustaches), it is actually quite disturbing and graphic. Bitches get drowned, choked, one girl gets a knife to the jaw, another gets her heel sliced open. For people who like their violence bloody, Maniac has a lot of great moments for that.

However, the film is a little inconsistent. At one point, Frank starts talking to himself, like he has two personalities, but that plot point is abandoned almost as soon as it is introduced. But hell, we don’t watch these films because of their intricate and well written plots. When it’s a perfect piece, that is just bloody icing on the murdercake. Maniac is not perfect, in that sense, but it’s still pretty damn good.

The finest point of this film is the cinematography. The entire film is shot through the eyes of the main character, Frank. When his head moves, the shot moves. The only times we actually see Wood, is when he is looking into a mirror or video display. When we see him, he sees himself. It makes the moments of violence that much more crazy.

Who would have thought Wood could do something like this? Of course, he is a sensitive, quiet killer. Other than the killer part, he is not much different from the roles he normally chooses. But still, there is a desperate kind of creepy that surrounds him in this film. I do miss the young Elijah Wood who took on films like North and The Good Son. Lately, he mostly plays a sensitive hipster guy.

However, it’s fun to say, “Bilbo be murderin’ bitches, yo.”

Check out this trailer. Have you seen it? What did you think about it?



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