Mandy (2018)



In case you didn't already know it Nic Cage is pretty crazy; and if his performance in any of his latest features haven't proven that to you yet, surely Mandy will. Set in the early 80's and in some sort of alternate reality, Cage plays a tree logger named "Red" that returns home to his peaceful existence with his wife "Mandy" (Andrea Riseborough) at their secluded cabin in the woods. However their tranquility is short-lived after the insane leader of an unhinged religious cult becomes enamored by Mandy and decides to make her one of his flock.

Things don't take very well with Mandy and a bound and gagged Red is forced to witness the death of his beloved wife before his very eyes. The cult leaves a heartbroken and distraught Red behind as they take off--a decision they will soon regret, as Red is no stranger to death. Armed with his old crossbow he calls "The Reaper" and an awesome looking battle axe that he forged himself, Red hunts down every last living cult member.

The film has a very interesting visual style thanks to director Panos Cosmatos, who also worked on Beyond the Black Rainbow-- another movie that boasted unique and colorful visuals. In this movie there are many scenes that are only lit by certain colors, primarily red, so at times it can be a literally dark movie, but it's all meant to showcase this dreary, hypnotic, drug-infused state that many of these characters are in. It's this kind of "artsy" style and some incredibly slow paced scenes that will likely throw people off. In fact, things don't really start to pick up until a good 30-mins into the movie.

Though once you plow through the first act you get what you've been waiting for since the beginning: a blood-fueled murderous Nic Cage wielding various weapons, including a chainsaw (who doesn't love a good chainsaw fight?). There's a good amount of blood and practical effects thrown around in the film that should please some gorehounds and over time you grow to appreciate the director's style of choice and maybe even decipher the meaning over certain scenes.

While the artsy side of the film didn't deter me entirely, it is probably my biggest complaint about the movie since it unfortunately caused the story to drag heavily at times (mostly in the beginning). It also certainly didn't need to be two hours, especially when this is essentially just a revenge film, albeit a unique looking one.

Mandy is a fun hypnotic ride into lots of blood and mayhem, but getting there might be a challenge for some. The first act of the movie is rather slow and "artsy," which may turn some people off, but if you stick around long enough you may find yourself enjoying this visually stunning treat.