Maniac (Franck Khalfoun, 2012)

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0
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A mannequin shop owner/tortured mama’s boy compulsively stalks and kills sluts in his down-time in this poor excuse for a remake of the classic William Lustig film of the same name. When will these shitty retreads ever end?
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Duane: First off, who in the fuck decided to cast Frodo in this anyway? He’s not menacing in the least and the women he’s terrorizing would realistically be able to kick his ass if it came down to it – if they were going for pathetic I guess they have a winner. Thankfully, the film is shot almost entirely from the killer’s point of view so you don’t have to look at his stupid fucking face too much, but it comes across as very gimmicky and almost like they’re trying to expand on the ever-popular “found footage” films that are a dime a dozen nowadays. Every time I saw Elijah Wood’s (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sin City) face trying to look “disturbed” in the mirror I couldn’t help but laugh – there’s no menace contained there at all. Rest assured, the mouth-breathing imbeciles that flock to the drivel being churned out by Rob Zombie and his ilk are gonna eat this shit up. 
COSDS-Maniac-25284-2529It’s really disappointing to me to see directors and writers that had so much potential stoop to this level just so they can gag on Hollywood’s bloated cock. Writer Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) has now  reached the point where he has completed more shitty projects than otherwise, thus outshining his past successes (or success, if you don’t count his half-decent The Hills Have Eyes remake) and proving that he has become completely assimilated into the Hollywood shit factory. Aja collaborator Franck Khalfoun (Director: P2, Actor: Haute Tension) has obviously jumped on the money train here as well with this dismal piece of shit.  As soon as I saw the CGI on the first kill I was completely done, the rest was just a painful albatross around my neck for 80 more increasingly painful minutes.
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Jocelyn: Growing up with the original and holding it so dear to our hearts, remaking this wasn’t an easy task to undertake; let alone botching it completely by adding hokey directing and poor casting. It pisses me off that everyone seems to be blowing their load about the POV filming as if it’s the most genius fucking concept ever committed to celluloid. First of all, the real reason that this was done was to give the appearance of originality while more importantly hiding the fact that the killer is the LEAST intimidating person you could possibly cast. Several films have tried using excessive POV and it failed (Lady in the Lake, Dark Passage, etc.) miserably. I guess since it hasn’t been used this blatantly since the 40’s everyone thinks he’s an auteur. Used in moderation it can be an effective tool but as gratuitous as this was, it just seemed like an insincere stratagem.
COSDS-Maniac-25287-2529Another thing:  I didn’t give a shit about a single character in this movie.  In the original, I felt for Frank, he was able to convey suffering and anguish; he was awkward and uncomfortable and it radiated from every over-sized pore on his face. Wood just looks like a little prince who steel-wooled his knuckles; you can’t toughen up OR empathize with his character because he comes across as just one more whiny pussy. Your mom’s a slut, so what? So was mine. I’m not a fucking serial killer.
Despite the original being an all-time favorite I actually went into this with an open mind and dare I say, slightly hopeful. The soundtrack by Rob is pretty incredible and for months all I’ve been hearing about is how amazing this film is; why have I still not learned that you can’t believe a god damned thing that people say?
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I guess it’s pretty simple, really: Wood just does NOT have what it takes to play this character. Not to mention that the original had the appropriate sleazy NY grit and filth to it, allowing you to move through the seedy, late night streets with requisite caution; this film was far too polished and vacant. I never felt the claustrophobic oppression of a deteriorated mind the way that Joe Spinell and Lustig conveyed so brilliantly in the original. This movie is bells and whistles; all shine and no substance. They thought that showing a slutty Mom getting DP’d in front of her little boy would be enough to justify the actions of the killer, but they shot themselves in the foot. If they had only shaded the outline of his past and left it for you to imagine it would’ve been far more effective. This oozed half-assed, Hollywood insincerity. And what the FUCK were they thinking putting “Goodbye Horses” in this?! I guess this is going to be the new serial killer theme song now?

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D: Unlike you Jocelyn, I didn’t go into this with any hope at all that it was going to have the slightest bit of redeeming value but after hearing such great things popping up about it I was fully expecting to eat a little crow on this one; maybe next time (but I doubt it).  This whole thing smacks of incompetence or at the very least a severe lack of respect for the original material. I can’t believe Lustig is even attached to this abortion.

By the time they tried to emulate the original poster art with Wood’s reflection in the side of the car my eyes were rolling up inside my skull. Even with all that great source material to draw from they still managed to make this film boring as fuck. The locations are uninteresting, and everything looks pretty much the same. See girl, stalk girl, kill girl, talk to mannequins. I shouldn’t be looking at my watch 20 minutes into a film like this. The fact that anyone would find this “brilliant” in any capacity is exactly what’s wrong with moviegoers today. Soon there won’t even be a horror genre, it’ll be a series of overly long music videos like this with some tits and cartoon blood thrown in to keep the lemmings shelling out for them. This film has no atmosphere, no soul at all. It’s a bland, empty circle jerk attempting to cash in on people’s ignorance and is an insult to those of us who grew up watching and loving these types of films in the first place.
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As for the supposed “gruesome” visuals (the aforementioned first scene notwithstanding) they’re pretty much all the same gore gag, as each slut is systematically scalped over and over again. Remember that awesome rifle blast to the face in the original? Yeah, nothing like that here. The kills are as uninspired and insipid as the rest of the film. At times they do look half-decent, but that’s certainly not enough to save the rest of this atrocity. And why is it seemingly so hard to cast attractive girls in horror films anymore? Has the well run dry? I couldn’t care less about any of the homely cum dumpsters found here.

J/D: This remake of Maniac personifies much of what is wrong with the popular film industry today. It lacks personality, originality and any sort of relevance whatsoever. Recommended for the mentally challenged, at best.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: 
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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