First MANIAC Remake Reactions Roll On In!

We’ve seen a handful of images and we’ve seen the red-band trailer, but now the new updated version of MANIAC has officially made it’s world premiere at Cannes Film Festival and the first word of mouth on the film is making its way on-line.

Based on the original 1980 “slasher” exploitation classic by William Lustig (who also serves as producer on this new one), P2 director Franck Khalfoun helms the pic from a script by HIGH TENSION duo Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur.

Elijah Wood plays Frank Zitto, the disturbed & troubled proprietor of a a cloths store formally owned by his domineering prostitute mother where he spends his time restoring vintage mannequins. His extracurricular activities revolve around stalking pretty women in the seediest parts of downtown Los Angeles. (A change from the original’s New York setting.) And unlike the original, this version puts us in the point of view of Frank the entire time, hence making us, the audience the voyeur maniac; an interesting approach to this material. Does it work?

Variety writes, “A shocker of a remake, equal parts stylish and scuzzy, “Maniac” only marginally softens the grindhouse sleaze of William Lustig’s 1980 original, still notorious for being the “Taxi Driver” of slashers. An R rating is inconceivable for anything like the version screened after midnight at Cannes.”

Of the POV style of the new film, The Hollywood Reporter says, “It’s a daring decision, Slasher-movie fans, however, need not be put off by the stylized camera work and arty patina: this is down and dirty genre filmmaking, and the various slaughters, excruciatingly detailed scalpings and other atrocities are no less gruesome because of the highfalutin approach.”

From Filmoria’s review, “Khalfoun’s remake manages to blend arthouse ideals and processes with utterly demonic, sickening violence to form a bloody yet beautiful medicine which is often hard to swallow. It reminded me of Switchblade Romance in the sense that its raw, visceral images counteracts with its prying, searing intelligence. And whilst Maniac may not be as ground-breaking as the comparative film, it’s still a fine slasher film and amongst the best horror re-envisions I’ve seen in a while.”

Color me intrigued. I like the original MANIAC. I own multiple versions of it on various formats, but it’s a film that I personally don’t object to being remade. The idea of a killer with mommy issues stalking pretty women is nothing new or unique, so who cares who does that story? As long as it’s done well. And with the casting of an unlikely actor like Elijah Wood, plus this gimmick of the “POV from the killer” for the entire movie, this is easily becoming one of my most anticipated horror films of the year.

Read those full reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Filmoria at the highlighted links. More news on MANIAC forthcoming!

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