I’m trying to piece together the details of director Franck Khalfoun’s slasher remake Maniac from the many trailers and footage provided over the last year. The Cannes trailer revealed a possible Freudian motivation for the film’s killer, who named his shop of death after his mother. In the UK trailer, there are hints that the psychopath’s love interest (played by the beautiful Nora Arnezeder) could become one of his victims, an outcome that would defy horror conventions. Though I enjoy solving this cinematic puzzle, I don’t like that all this material is demystifying what should be a sneaky surprise. Just when I thought it couldn’t get more exposed, along comes another official trailer finally heralding the film’s release.
Maniac stars Elijah Wood as a knife-wielding killer named Frank who scalps his female victims. Similar to Michael Powell’s celebrated work Peeping Tom, the murders Frank commits are made all the more graphic and disturbing because they’re filmed in first-person POV. While much of the footage in the new trailer is familiar, I still find it supremely cringe-worthy, which speaks to the power of Khalfoun’s twisted vision. Whether that vision can sustain a whole movie, however, is still questionable. See official trailer and synopsis via Apple below:
A 21st century Jack the Ripper set in the present day, MANIAC is a reboot of the cult film considered by many to be the most suspenseful slasher movie ever made. Frank (Elijah Wood, in a tour de force performance) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates and the number of victims increases, it becomes clear that Frank is far more dangerous than he seems. With a pulsating electronic score by Rob, the film is an intimate, visually daring, psychologically complex and profoundly horrific trip into the downward spiraling nightmare of a killer and his victims.
Maniac hits theaters on June 21st.