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Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder
Directed by: Franck Khalfoun

Maniac is a horror thriller filled with stomach-churning gore. Really one word could do; terrifying. But you need more.

Story goes…a young man, Frank (Elijah Wood), has a tad of an issue; it’s the psychotic downward triangular cornered slant no amount of therapy is going to smooth-out-sort. He refurbishes mannequins as a job. In itself, an odd workplace surrounding. Though that turns out is not his true passion. He preffers to hunt gals and - exceptionally - voilently enjoys taking their lives – and scalps.

Frank's a modern killer though. He uses a dating chat room to meet his victims. And, adding to the sceeve factor, Frank verbally battles his ‘evil’ side in some scenes.

There are a few generic scenes; the artist (Nora Arnezeder - who comes complete with a French accent and doe-like innocence) happens to meet him at his store front snapping up photos of the wooden people in the window. The whole set up is so telegraphed Marconi wants to sue from the grave for nonpayment of use of his antiquated technology.

But, as the ‘maniac’ Wood, is so off character, the film may scare the bejesus out of you. Your mind wants – expects – serial killers to be stinky gargoyle-esque visually and not packaged in an adorable big blue-eyed package of elfin charm. Clearly, the take away here is the cliche that no one should ever judge a book by its cover. And, another would be to take a close look at you date’s hands…if they are welted, bloody and scratched? Promptly excuse yourself to bathroom (for escape time) and exit swiftly stage left. There's no work related welding that would explain this kind of hamburger-style manicure. Except perhaps slaughter house...and again, excuse and leave.

Cinematographer Maxime Alexandre filters the colors of the film’s pallette to a wonderful surreal-ish scape. And director Franck Khalfoun knows how to shot eerie POV wonderfully. Sadly, Maniac is not a great film – though the behind-the-scenes crew are; bright futures abound. And to see a really great actor (Wood) so off his oozing sweetness? Yeah. Go ahead. Have a cheesy evening where a sicko character stars.

Snack recommendation: Nadda, nil, zip. Warning you.


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