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He’s a Maniac, Maniac

July 12th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

Come on, you knew that was coming.

I gotta give it up to Elijah Wood for continuing to try new roles and push envelopes post-LOTR. I know I’m painting myself as less of a horror aficionado then I think I am when I say I haven’t seen the original, but I think I can safely say this is a homage/remake done right. With original MANIAC filmmaker William Lustig on board as producer, I think I can even more safely say this Aja (HIGH TENSION) co-written and co-produced film is truly singular. I mean, he already proved he can do top-notch remakes with PIRANHA and THE HILLS HAVE EYES, both of which are grade A in my book.

Looooooooots of scalping in this film. Just sayin'.

Looooooooots of scalping in this film. Just sayin’.

I know you’ve seen some POV recently in horror filmmaking, but this is no found footage franchise waiting to happen. This are some delightful mise-en-scene moments with perspective to get you in the mind of the serial killer without breaking the mood or moment, and it is at once unsettling and utterly simplistic. Basic camera techniques and well-timed character movements create the perfect low-budget, editless mindscapes.

This film was not overpraised. Rarely have horror homages/remakes pleased the hardcore (generally only pleasing newcomers born 20 – 30 years too late to have appreciated the original), but I think we can safely classify MANIAC as one of the rare few to take on that cherished mantle.

And no, I haven’t seen V/H/S/2 yet, our late-night found footage sequel (yes, perhaps the perfect antonym to MANIAC). What I have heard from all who saw it (including a number at SIFF’s recent Midnight Adrenaline showing), is that is as good if not better than the original. Hopefully the camera will be a little less shaky, as I’m still queasy when I think about V/H/S.

A good weekend to be a horror fan in Seattle. Wait a week to see PACIFIC RIM and I’ll bloody well join you, let’s pause a bit and give some great horror a chance in this over-CGed summer blockbuster season.

—thank Jeebus for Aja, dan

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