Although I am neither a fan of remakes nor the “new wave of French horror” that’s been popular the past 10-15 years, Maniac ends up being an exception to both categories. This Alexandre Aja penned remake of 1980 classic is a fairly faithful retelling of the original. Elijah Wood is no Joe Spinell, but with his portrayal as a seriously deranged fuck with boyish and charming good looks, Woods actually fits the character better than Spinell’s loafing, schlumpiness IMO (and I can hear the ire of a thousand purists). The chick who plays Anna is an actually somewhat likeable and interesting character, as opposed to 95% of female roles these days.
Except for 2 or 3 scenes, the movie is told from Frank’s (Wood’s) point of view so we only really see him when he’s reflected from a window or mirror. The gore and blood are there, as is to be expected from Aja’s work. The scalpings are fine, nothing groundbreaking or novel. There is a nice little Achilles heel slicing which I am a fan of, and there are a few scenes where Woods is washing his hands with a steel Brillo pad looking thing which were definitely squirm-worthy.
If you’re a purist and devout fan of the original, you will probably hate this. But if not, it’s definitely a movie worth watching and one of the better horror movies to come out in recent years.