Maniac (2012) at the Cedar Lee
Saturday, June 13, at 11:59pm
Synopsis: Frank is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.
This happens to be one of the occasions where I get to post a review about a newly released film instead of just a recommendation. I stumbled across Maniac while browsing the catalog on Amazon Instant last night. I remembered that it was showing at the Cedar Lee this weekend, and as I had not worked out anything to write about this week, I decided to watch it. I absolutely loved it, but this love comes with a huge disclaimer. This is one of the goriest films I’ve seen in a while. It’s not quite at the level of “torture porn” like the Saw films or Hostel films, but that works in its favor in this instance. The gore in Saw and Hostel is the main attraction. It’s the thing you came to see and cheer on. In Maniac, the gore is incidental and is something I found myself rooting against despite the fact that it is a horror film. The gore effects were pretty fantastic, and even though I’ve seen more horror films than I can remember, I covered my eyes more than once.
The things about Maniac that I loved even more than its horror aspects were…absolutely everything else about it. It’s a tremendously well-shot, well-scored, and well-acted film. I was very much reminded of American Psycho in its use of long shots and its sublime use of music to set the tone of each scene. Seriously, guys, the music in Maniac is fantastic. Most of the score was done by a person named Rob (as the opening credits named him) who I assume must be an electronic artist. I have no idea who Rob is, but I hope to see his name in more opening credits. There was one non-original song placed into the movie that will make any fan of Silence of the Lambs squeal with an awkward sense of joy when they hear it. It is also worth noting that Elijah Wood knocks this one out of the park. I didn’t think of Frodo Baggins or expect a man to show up in a dog costume even once. I didn’t expect to buy into Elijah Wood as a serial killer so easily, but I ended up hopping right on board that ship and didn’t get off until the credits rolled.
I highly recommend that any horror fans looking for something to do on Saturday night head down to the Cedar Lee. I don’t often recommend horror films (as there are so few good ones anymore), but Maniac is not to be missed.