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Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt. Frank is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition.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, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.
For more about Maniac and the Maniac Blu-ray release, see Maniac Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on July 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder
Director: Franck Khalfoun
» See full cast & crew
Maniac Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, July 20, 2013
Franck Khalfoun's "Maniac" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Metrodome Video. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film as well as a collection of interviews with director Franck Khalfoun, scenarist Alexandre Aja, and actors Elijah Wood and Nora Arnezeder. In English, without optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Franck Khalfoun's Maniac isn't quite as intense as Pascal Laugier's Martyrs, but it goes places where most other similarly-themed films don't - at least not with the same attitude. This attitude is what makes it so shocking, or good as far as some horror fans are concerned.
I've seen the film that inspired it and I must admit that I am unsure why it had to be remade. Other than the graphic violence the remake follows a very familiar route. There are some enhancements that give the story a more contemporary feel, but everything else is the same. This lack of creativity is one of the main reasons why so many people nowadays get upset when they hear that good films are being remade. Why try to fix something that isn't broken?
The main protagonist (Elijah Wood, The Ice Storm) in Franck Khalfoun's film is a young loner who likes to restore mannequins. He spends most of his time in a rather large studio where he carefully rebuilds mannequins with torn hands and legs, missing heads, or cracked bodies. He does not have any friends but does not feel the need to meet people that could make his life more exciting.
But when Anna (Nora Arnezeder, Paris 36, Safe House), a young artist from France, approaches the loner with a request for help, something deep inside him snaps. The two spend time together and for the first time in his life he realizes that he could have a meaningful relationship with another human being. But persistent migraines and a casual but surprising confession transform the loner into a monster.
The film takes great pride in its straightforward depiction of violence, but it quickly becomes annoying. The camera comes so close to the loner's victims and captures so much of their suffering that it often feels as if Khalfoun is actually experimenting with different special effects. The best slasher films are typically very atmospheric films that manage to engage the viewer, make him care about some of their characters. I did not care about the loner in Khalfoun's film, because neither his emotions nor his violent outbursts made much sense to me.
Something else that needs be said about this film is that it never becomes eerie. The graphic violence makes it repulsive, but not eerie. This is what collapses the entire film - it is essentially a series of episodes all of which climax in exactly the same fashion, creating the impression that they are simply glorifying the violence.
The acting is underwhelming. Wood utters a series of lines that are frequently completely misplaced. The unique camera work further complicates things because it essentially creates the impression that some sequences were poorly edited. Arnezeder's enthusiasm for the loner is also unbelievable.
The script for the film was written by Alexandre Aja (Switchblade Romance, The Hills Have Eyes) and Gregory Levasseur (Furia, Mirrors).
The trendy soundtrack was created by Robin Coudert (Laila Marrakchi's Rock the Casbah, Romain Levy's Radiostars).
Note: Last year, Maniac had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Maniac Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Franck Khalfoun's Maniac arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Metrodome Video.
Shot with the Red Epic camera, Maniac looks remarkably clean and crisp. There are many shots throughout the film that look like digital photographs (see screencaptures #5 and 8). Contrast levels are stable, though occasionally brightness fluctuations create the impression that image depth isn't consistent. All of these fluctuations, however, are inherited. Colors are stable and natural. There are no purely transfer-specific anomalies. Also, there are no stability issues to report in this review. To sum it all up, Metrodome Video's technical presentation of Maniac is indeed very impressive, which is why I believe that fans of the film will be very pleased with its transition to Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. Please note that there are a few promo trailers before the main menu appears. However, they are not forced and can be skipped on Region-A machines).
Maniac Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Metrodome Video have not provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Maniac was shot with a limited budget, but the lossless track makes this rather difficult to believe. The depth and intensity of the lossless track are quite impressive. There is also plenty of good surround movement, though you should not expect it to test the muscles of your audio system. The dialog is exceptionally crisp, clean, stable, and easy to follow.
Maniac Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Maniac Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Franck Khalfoun's remake of Bill Lustig's Maniac could appeal only to viewers with extreme tolerance for graphic violence. There are a few cheap thrills in it, but the rest is easily forgettable. Frankly, I cannot imagine anyone wanting to see the film twice. Metrodome Video's technical presentation of Maniac, however, is very impressive. RENT IT first.
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Maniac Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Franck Khalfoun's Maniac Gets UK Release Date - May 16, 2013
British distributors Metrodome Video will release on Blu-ray for director Franck Khalfoun's Maniac (2012), starring Elijah Wood, America Olivo, Nora Arnezeder, and Sammi Rotibi. The film, which is a remake of William Lustig's 1980 cult slasher, will be available ...
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