Director: Franck Khalfoun
Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Jan Broberg, Liane Balaban, Megan Duffy
I warned you not to go out tonight
Frank Zito is a loner, an outsider of society. He runs a mannequin business, but it is really just there for his own needs. He keeps no friends around and spends all of his time alone. That is, when he isn’t outside stalking and preying on young women that he so desperately wants to murder and mutilate.
The original remake, starring the great Joe Spinell is one of my all-time favorite horror films and might also be my favorite portrayal of a serial killer in any movie I’ve seen so far. So when the news of a remake hit the Internet, I can’t say I was very positive. The remake craze of the last 10-15 years has delivered just fancier and flashy new versions of films that were and still are great as they are. However, words did come out saying that this film did in fact have something original to offer and the way it was shot would also make it seem like this was a unique take on the original film, so in the end I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a chance.
And that’s one of the smartest decisions I’ve done in a long time. This movie is brilliant. The idea of filming it with the point of view from Frank makes the viewer get into his mind and action in a way that has never been done before (as far as I know). It could put someone off, but for me it worked perfectly. The only thing I had against it was the fact that it sounded a bit too obvious that the voiceover was done after filming.
And into the mind of Frank Zito we go… Not only by the filming perspective, but also because of the well written script by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur and the excellent acting of Elijah Wood. This modern Frank Zito is an overweight, sweaty and ugly fellow like he was in the original, this time he looks like a guy that could easily go unnoticed in a crowd if he wanted. But on his inside, he feels like he is just as ugly as Joe Spinell’s Frank Zito was.
Some of the murders resemble those from the original film, but are still done differently. The lonely streets of Los Angeles is used one hundred percent here, just like the trashy and grim streets of New York was fully used in the original film. The visual choices and direction by Franck Khalfoun are excellent and I’m surprised that this isn’t a filmmaker that I have been familiar with previously, but on the other hand he had only done two films before this and I’m sure that it helped to have the experience of Alexandra Aja on board as a producer and a screenwriter.
The movie is not perfect though. One thing no one can ever take away from the original film is the fantastic, shocking and disturbing gore from Tom Savini in the original, this one however was lacking in that department. Not to say that this doesn’t have its own grueling scenes, but the special effects are mediocre and it just doesn’t look right here. The scalping scenes are not convincing and that is a downer considering what type of film this is and the brutality it tries to display.
The remake of Maniac is fantastic. It is one of my favorite movies already from the last 20 years and we haven’t seen a better or equal serial killer movie since Man Bites Dog came out. I love the original and for once I actually love the remake aswell.