Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Maniac": Elijah Wood in a First-Person Scalper 

Thursday, Jul 4 2013
Comments

Early-2010s Los Angeles is not late-1970s New York, and high-definition digital is not 16mm film, so it's not fair to blame Franck Khalfoun's Maniac remake for lacking the grimy seediness of William Lustig's 1980 original. The story is quite faithful, though, following a psychopath (the seemingly fearless Elijah Wood) who works out his mother issues by killing women and stapling their scalps to mannequins. Actually, the movie doesn't follow Wood's character so much as inhabit him, since the entire picture is seen through his eyes (except for one scene that homages the original film's iconic poster). It's a gimmick that works remarkably well, making Maniac one of the few modern horror remakes whose heavy reliance on CGI aids rather than distracts from the storytelling. But this new, effects-heavy Maniac doesn't skimp on the gore, modern technology allowing the full scalping to be shown without having to cut away, so to speak. Set to a moody synth score, the movie excels in the casting of Elijah Wood; while he couldn't be more different than the original's über-schlub Joe Spinell, Wood's scrawny adorability works to the remake's advantage, helping to solve the plot hole of just what that nice photographer lady (Nora Arnezeder) sees in this creep. After all, Frodo wouldn't hurt a fly, would he?

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"