Why Maniac Will Be Scary
Okay, we all know by now that America has an infatuation with serial killers and mass murderers. While this type of subject matter manifests itself in the media in several ways (like cover stories in magazines and newspapers, as well as movies, TV shows, etc.), most of it tells stories from the perspective of the victim.
With the influx of shows like Dexter and Hannibal, we’ve seen more of a focus on the point of view of the killer, but never quite in the way you’ll see in Maniac.
In Maniac, a remake of the 1980s film of the same name, Elijah Wood plays Frank Zito, a young man whose mother moonlighted as a prostitute and who struggles with her death and the trauma of his haunting memories of childhood, driving him to target and kill beautiful women. Zito works as a mannequin salesman, and quite frequently takes the hair of his victims and attaches it to the mannequins (making his M.O. somewhat similar to that of real-life serial killer Charles Albright).
The difference between the two shows mentioned above and this film is that the lion’s share of the story is told – and shot - literally from the killer’s point of view. This means you mostly see him in reflections (think Kanye West‘s “All Falls Down” music video). Placing you in the point of view of the killer himself is an interesting trick for the silver screen, designed to put the audience right in the middle of the chaos, confusion, and carnage that is Zito’s life.
So far, screenings have reportedly caused serious reactions from audience members – from passing out to vomiting. This is an unbelievably (albeit realistically) gory film, sure to set quite a few filmmaking precedents. Do you have what it takes to stomach it all?
Maniac had its limited release on June 21 and can also be seen on IFC On Demand.