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Review: 'Maniac'

July 5, 2013 1:53 p.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando review the remake of "Maniac."

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: Horror films, and slasher films in particular, are often condemned for their gore and lack of substance. But KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando defends the genre and “Maniac,” a remake of the 1980 cult slasher film.

MANIAC 1 (ba).wav 1:20

Horror films, even the most blood splattered and empty-headed, still reflect the times that spawn them. So it’s interesting to see a return to slasher films, a genre that came to full fruition during the conservative Reagan era. Slasher films serve up a perverse conservatism as a white male kills off everyone who fails to live up to his particular code. Maybe all the concern about the NSA watching over us too closely has inspired director Franck Khalfoun to remake Maniac from a first person point of view that feels invasive and voyeuristic. Elijah Wood recreates the role of serial killer Frank Zito for a new millennium, finding his female victims through online dating sites.

CLIP Hello RedLucie86. It’s my first time on a dating site…

Zito kills women he deems sexually reckless, punishing them because his mother was a prostitute who left him orphaned. He regrets his actions yet keeps souvenirs of each kill. The first person perspective works well to trap us inside the head of a lunatic, allowing us to see the world only as he does.

CLIP Look what you made me do…

It’s an unflinchingly brutal film that places the viewer in the role of accomplice with disturbingly effective results.

“Maniac” screens tonight and Saturday night at 10pm at the new Digital Gym Cinema.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.