When it comes to remakes, the good ones are VERY few and far between. The Thing (1982), The Blob (1988), Dawn of the Dead (2004) are just a few of the 40oz. crew’s personal favs — ‘Dawn’ being one of the best, if not the best of all time. We’re all looking forward to Fede Alvarez’s remake of Evil Dead, but any true horror fan still has that sense of hesitation buried in the back of their mind.
Surely you can understand my pessimism as James and I sat down for a screening of the remake of William Lustig’s 1980 cult masterpiece Maniac. My pessimism quickly turned to excitement almost immediately. The opening scene, which would make Dario Argento proud, set the tone right away and settled any hesitation I had.
The first thing I noticed was the Score. A lot of people may not put a lot of stock in movie scores, but often it can make or break a movie. It was contemporary, yet had that nostalgic, 80’s electronic feel that will give classic slasher fans the warm & fuzzies. Not just the score, but everything about this movie just felt right. Even the small things such as the graphics of the opening title sequence and the atmosphere had that dirty New York City feel, ala the original Maniac or Basketcase.
And the acting was spot on.
I was one of the many who questioned the casting of Elijah Wood in the lead role of Frank. I mean, could Frodo be taken seriously as a sociopathic serial killer? The answer is an astounding YES.
Wood virtually carried the entire film on his back, while the whole time you’re seeing things from his point of view. When first hearing about the first person perspective aspect of the movie, I was a little nervous. However, I now feel that it made the movie that much better. You see everything how Frank sees it — which really pulls you into the story. Even when he is having his anxiety attacks, as a viewer, you begin to feel a bit anxious yourself. And I’d like to think it’s a wink at Argento films where you just see the killer’s hands — just one example of the many homages to old school horror, even a few to the original film.
Maniac was more of an update than a remake and it was done right. It wasn’t so much of a remake that it didn’t relate to the original story, but it wasn’t so little of a remake that it didn’t update the story at all. It was the perfect mix, which is how a remake should be.
Maniac is one of the good ones folks…. Dare I say the best remake since 2004’s Dawn of the Dead? Or even better? That’s for you to decide, but don’t miss out on this flick. It’s one of the few that keeps the hopes for the future of horror alive.
What did you think of Maniac?