[Review] Mandy (2018)
Mandy – The quiet and enchanted lives of a devoted couple, Red (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) take a dark and bizarre turn in a secluded forest when a nightmarish hippie cult and their maniacal leader, Jeremiah (Linus Roache), brutally seek to possess Mandy, body, and soul. A shocking assault on the innocent pair leads to a spiraling, surreal, bloody rampage of all out, mind-altering vengeance. “Certainly not for the faint of heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), Mandy is “a primal, psychedelic rage-scream of a movie” (Slash Film).
This is one hell of a tripped out movie, and that’s no joke. Mandy takes place in 1983 with Red (Nicolas Cage) working as a lumberjack who lives with his beloved artist girlfriend, Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) in a very secluded cabin set deep into the woods. Mandy is not sexy or drop-dead gorgeous, but she possesses a look that is pretty enchanting and spends most of her days reading fantasy paperback books and creating elaborate fantasy art. One day as she walks to work, she passes a slow-moving van and unknowingly attracts the eye of a crazed cult leader named Jeremiah, who ultimately summons up and commands a motorcycle-riding group of demons to hunt her down.
The Black Skulls are an unusual gang made up of villains who have abused the drugs provided to them by the Chemist, turning them into marauding instillers of pain with little concern for their own safety. Along with the chemist, Brother Swan, they find and capture Mandy and Red, tying Red to a tree with what appears to be wire.
Jeremiah drugs Mandy with the same LSD strain his group uses on the demon-like bikers, who then preach to her about his mystic philosophy of being blessed with all things by a drug-fueled God. When she begins laughing at him about the music that fuels him, he flies into a rage. The enraged Jeremiah goes out and stabs Red, who is still tied to the tree, hangs Mandy up in a sleeping bag nearby and does something truly unspeakable to her while Red is forced to watch helplessly. After the horrific deed is done, Jeremiah leaves with all of his followers.
This is where the movie really picks up the pace and becomes very, very bizarre as Red, now armed with a crossbow named “Reaper” and a badass custom-made Axe, sets out to claim revenge on the Black Skulls, Jeremiah and his followers. Mandy has the viewer following Cage in his journey both emotionally and physically as you’re gripped by his dilemma and pushed forward by his drive for justice. Combining arthouse with grindhouse has never come together quite as flawlessly as it does in this film.
To be honest, I absolutely loved this movie, seriously, I did. It was full of suspense, mystery, awesome music and some of the most horrific and downright brutal scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. Well, in a long time anyway. All of the actors gave such a top-notch performance, and the director makes you care so much for the characters. Not only that but the musical score was nothing but heavy metal! This may have influenced my liking just a tad, but I don’t think so.
I think the acting of Cage had a lot to do with it. I believe Nicolas Cage is the only one who could have played the part of Red. If I didn’t know any better I would believe he actually ‘became’ Red in this movie. His role couldn’t have been any more fitting for Cage and you can almost sense that he did this film because he wanted to, and not for the money. I think he poured everything within himself into this one. The Film Academy should nominate Mandy for the best picture!
The film goes from spooky to an insane ride of pure madness. There’s over the top horror-action, and very dark comedy, mixed with extremely intense madness. It’s an amazing and very fun film. It’s not really going to be for everyone but that’s okay too. It’s one of those “you either like it, or you don’t” kind of movies. The visuals and colors were also over the top and simply outstanding. It’s something that might possibly hook you from the very beginning, some really trippy stuff here.
You’ll also get a taste of a violent nature, bloody and darkly comical that features a recurring tiger motif, genre homages, and a legitimately outstanding chainsaw fight. Cage goes completely mental and revenge has consumed him. He borrows a crossbow from a good friend of his, Bill Duke, and then forges his own mythical and ancient, (and very bad-ass I must add) scythe. If you’re thinking about checking this one out, don’t hesitate, give it a try, there’s always a 50/50 chance you’ll love it just as much as I have.
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute
Genre: Horror, Action, Thriller
Studio: Image Entertainment
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Bill Duke
MPAA Rated: NR
Directors: Panos Cosmatos
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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