Based on the notorious 1980 low budget horror of the same name, Maniac is a nightmarish journey through the streets of downtown Los Angeles shot from the perspective of a psychopath, who kidnaps female victims and scalps them.
The violence throughout Franck Khalfoun’s ambitious remake is graphic and unrelenting, the tension almost unbearable, and on more than one occasion, our terror turns to waves of nausea.
You’ll need a strong stomach and nerves of steel to endure the 89 minutes.
Elijah Wood eviscerates his cuddly image as Frodo in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, playing mannequin restorer Frank Zito, whose traumatic childhood and creepy relationship with his mother (America Olivo) have warped his attitude towards women.
Frank roams the city streets in his van, searching for lone women to introduce to the razor-sharp hunting knife he keeps tucked beneath his jacket.
His blood lust is momentarily sated when he meets artist Anna (Mora Arzeneder), who is fascinated by his shop full of vintage dummies.
Friendship turns to obsession on Frank’s part and he struggles to control the darkness within, which demands Anna as his next ghoulish trophy.
Shot through the eyes of Frank, Maniac sustains tension from beginning to end, occasionally glimpsing Wood in reflections or mirrors; his hollow eyes staring into the camera without a flicker of emotion.
Special effects slather the screen in blood and entrails, and the persistent sound of Frank’s heavy breathing provides a tempo for Rob Editor’s discordant score that leaves our nerves in tatters.
Released: March 15 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 89 mins