Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars
William Lustig’s 1980 cult film “Maniac” is a decent film but has never one of my favorites. This remake was written by Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”, “Piranha”), who is know for remaking horror films the way they should be. So that was a eye-raiser for me personally. When I saw that Elijah Wood was taking the lead role, I became even more interested in this film. I loved the vision of the remake and thought it was a huge improvement on the original. It is daring, very intense and quite horrific. Wood is amazingly insane in the film and delivers a hell of a performance. Top that with an amazing score and some impressive visual effects from KNB Effects (“The Walking Dead”) and we got a winner here and a must see for any horror fan.
Official Premise: In this 21st century Jack the Ripper story set in present-day Los Angeles, Frank (Elijah Wood) leads a deceptively peaceful life. To the outside world, he’s a withdrawn and somewhat eccentric owner of a mannequin store. But his quiet façade masks an inner rage that forces him to brutally kill and scalp the women who get too close to him. When a young artist named Anna (Nora Arnezeder) appears one day at Frank’s shop and asks for his help with her new exhibition, Frank develops an obsession with her that threatens to completely destroy his already fragile psyche. Soon the streets become unsafe for any woman after dark as this newly awakened maniac begins to stalk and kill.
There has been some complaints about the film since a lot of it was shot in what I liked to call Elijah Wood-O-Vision, which was his point of view. I thought it was very effective to show the film in that first-person perspective. The 1080p transfer is solid in 2.35:1 aspect ratio while still keeping that gritty 70’s “42nd St & Broadway” feel. The film comes packed with a killer (no pun intended) DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The score has a very 70’s disco/electronic horror feel and it really works well with the film.
Overall IFC delivered an impressive Blu-ray release here. There is a super cool reverse cover art included. The special features are worth checking out for sure if you are a fan of the film. There is an awesome audio commentary track with Elijah Wood, director Franck Khalfoun, and executive producer Alix Taylor, which is quite detailed on the production. There is a super in-depth “Making Of” documentary, which runs over an hour. This includes some great behind-the-scenes look into the production along with cast/crew interviews. There is a Poster Gallery included for the three poster designs. Lastly there is a few short deleted scenes and a trailer included.