Maniac appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a good presentation.
Sharpness was usually fine. Occasional wide shots looked a bit tentative, but those remained in the minority, so most of the flick seemed concise and accurate. No issues with jaggies or shimmering materialized, and I saw no signs of edge haloes or noise reduction. Print flaws also remained absent.
In terms of colors, Maniac tended toward muted tones. Stalking shots went with a sickly blue, while those with Anna opted for an amber feel. A few more dynamic hues occasionally appeared – such as some garish red/purples for Frank’s flashbacks – and the colors seemed fine for the movie’s intentions.
Blacks were a little mushy but not bad; they could’ve used more depth but they seemed adequate. Shadows felt into the same category, as low-light shots tended to lack the clarity I’d like. Still, they worked fine, and the whole package wound up as a “B”.
With its attempts to put us in the lead character’s head, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack provided a pretty active environment. Street/stalking scenes gave us a good feeling for the settings, and moments of Frank’s psychoses opened up well to surround us with his mental situation. The various components meshed together well and created an involving atmosphere.
Audio quality pleased, as speech seemed natural and distinctive. Music was vibrant and full, while effects sounded accurate and dynamic. The soundtrack suited the narrative and created a firm “B+” mix.
The disc includes a decent set of extras, and these open with an audio commentary from director Franck Khalfoun, executive producer Alix Taylor and actor Elijah Wood. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, the film’s unusual point of view and cinematography, cast and performances, effects and makeup, music, and some other areas.
While not devoid of useful information, the commentary proves to be too slow and dull to add much to the experience. We get the occasional productive nugget but not enough of them to redeem the track. Maybe others will get more from the chat than I did, but I felt it was a fairly boring and uninspiring listen.
Next comes a documentary simply titled Making of. It runs one hour, six minutes, and 21 seconds as it delivers notes from Khalfoun, Wood, Taylor, writer/producer Alexandre Aja, director of photography/camera operator Maxime Alexandre, special makeup effects artist Mike McCarty, composer Rob and actors Nora Arnazeder and Megan Duffy. The show looks at the original 1980 film and adapting/changing it, story/character areas, camerawork and the use of first-person POV, cast and performances, makeup and effects, music and the film’s showing at Cannes.
After the boring commentary, I feared the documentary would also drag. Happily, it works pretty well, as it covers the movie in a satisfying manner. We find plenty of good footage from the set and learn a lot about the production. From start to finish, this turns into a useful piece.
Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of four minutes, nine seconds. The first three occupy barely a minute total; they just show minutiae with Frank and are pretty useless. Scene Four shows an encounter between the police and Frank, while the fifth sequence lets us view how Frank first met one of his later victims. The police segment is less intriguing than one might think, but the final one has some merit.
A Poster Gallery offers a whopping three images. These are reasonably interesting.
The disc opens with ads for Antiviral, Room 237, Byzantium, Plus One and Simon Killer. The set also provides the trailer for Maniac.
Though I never saw the original Maniac, I can’t imagine it’s any worse than this pointless remake. Burdened by an ineffective “first-person” point of view, the movie lacks any entertainment value as it limps along. The Blu-ray delivers pretty good picture and audio along with inconsistent bonus materials. As a release, this is positive package but the film doesn’t work.