Critic Consensus: Shocking and bloody. Maniac is smarter than your average psychological slasher, but it's often undermined by its excessive gore.
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Critic Reviews for Maniac
It's not clear what exactly merited an updating of William Lustig's 1980 "Maniac" - a cheapo urban grimeball about a serial killer - but like a rash's unwelcome return, we got it anyway.
It's a bit like watching an amputee play hopscotch: there's no way that it's polite to stare for this long, but you just have to see if this guy's gonna make it to the end.
Audience Reviews for Maniac
This brilliant film is certainly not for everybody's stomach, since it is a brutal, tense and intensely disturbing experience that forces us to adopt the perspective of a maniac psycho killer - using an ingenious subjective camera to put us right there inside his deranged state of mind.
A depraved, disturbing, and uncompromising slasher that boasts amazing technical craftsmanship, forcing you to follow the kind of character you fear your sister or daughter would meet. Strictly for fans of extreme horror.
More of a gory art experiment than a coherent movie, "Maniac" is watchable (when you're not squirming away from the gore) but ultimately uninteresting and unstimulating. Instead of an interesting take on serial murder and the mental illness that causes it, "Maniac" is just a filmmaker's attempt to showboat gory art.
Elijah Wood is an interesting casting choice that is ultimately fumbled. By shooting the film in 1st person perspective, Wood isn't allowed to show how he's matching the character's torment. The victims could have been running away from anybody with a knife, his presence isn't used to effectively convey his menace other than his penchant for angry mutilation.
"Maniac" is a remake of the 1981 cult classic slasher flick. That version used its low guerilla-style filming to add to the subject matter's depravity. 2013 moves the action from New York to Los Angeles and that move seems to hurt the film as well. NY's 1981 grittiness really helps to add to the believability of the menace, LA 2013, on the other hand, seems a bit fictional and forced.
"Maniac" is undeniably gory, but ultimately it's undeniably pointless.
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