Maniac (2013)


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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Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt. Frank (Elijah Wood) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) appears asking for his help with her new exhibition.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. A 21st century Jack the Ripper set in present day LA, Franck Khalfoun's Maniac is a re-boot of the William Lustig cult film considered by many to be the most suspensseful slasher movie ever made - an intimate, visually daring, psychologically complex and projoundly horrific trip into the downward spiralling nightmare of a killer and his victims. -- (C) IFC

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Critic Reviews for Maniac

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (18)

A creepy experiment that stays with you.

Jul 25, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4

Frodo Baggins as a psycho-killer? Why not?

Jul 11, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The sadistic proceedings here are pointless, and not very scary.

Jul 5, 2013 | Rating: .5/4 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 27, 2013 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 21, 2013 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"Maniac" only takes what had merely been a disturbing film and makes it into a truly disturbed one.

Jun 21, 2013 | Rating: 1/4

Audience Reviews for Maniac


This brilliant film is certainly not for everyone'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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


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.

Tony Gandía
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer


Frank: Please don't scream. You're beautiful. "I warned you not to go out tonight" Maniac is undoubtedly a very interesting and well made psychological horror/slasher. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing the original, so I can't talk about this as it compares to the original. All I can really say is that despite the fact that this was shot well and had very interesting psychological sequences(especially the ending); I just didn't like it that much. The movie was disturbing and gross, which works with some movies and doesn't work with others. For me, it didn't work here. I could always see Elijah Wood playing a creepy guy like this, but his performance was a little too much. It's just too weird for me I guess. Frank is the title maniac, and he no doubt embodies the essence of that word. He's a voyeur, a lunatic, and a killer. He stalks and kills young, beautiful women because of sick childhood memories of his mother. He also scalps all the bodies and uses them for his mannequins. When a beautiful, French artist asks for his help with her new exhibit, his maniac-ness goes to another level. This movie has that authentic feel of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It just feels so real life and the camera views from Frank's point of view make it feel like the viewer is the maniac. It's all very unsettling and disturbing, which should have left me feeling satisfied. In the end, though, something was just missing. I don't know if it was with Wood's performance or with the lack of true believability that came from the supporting cast, but something just didn't sit right with me. Maniac is worth a look and it definitely makes me want to give the original a look, as the story and character is very interesting. I may not have liked the movie very much, but I can't say it's bad. In fact, it's one of the more technically well made horror films I've seen in recent years. It's just too bad it couldn't win me over in the end.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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