Movie Review: Mandy (2018)

September 11, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Red (Nicholas Cage) is a lumberjack who lives in a heavily windowed house deep in the wilderness with his artist/pulp paperback readin’/gas station attendant love Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). All is bucolic existence (minus a traumatic childhood story here or there), until the local evil religious cult, lead by the enigmatic Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), sets their sights on Mandy and conjures up a demonic ATV riding gang seemingly straight from hell to subdue her and Red. Sand soon appears on the scene and lays bare his past as a failed rock star who was blessed by “God” to do as he will, and he has the unholy relics to prove it! Mandy, in a drug induced…well, giant monster wasp induced, stupor rebukes his advances, which sets Sand off on a murderous frenzy resulting in her immolation. One problem though…they leave Red alive, and he is a bit pissed to say the least! As you can surmise Red then walks revenge road…and that is all I’m going to say. I don’t want to spoils a single second of the batshit insanity that comes next. Oh, but I will say one more thing…holy fuck, Mandy!
It’s nearly impossible to review Mandy, because the film is such an overwhelming sensory experience…much like director/co-writer Panos Cosmatos’ previous effort, the superb Beyond the Black Rainbow. Unlike that aforementioned film, this feature has a bit more of a linear narrative; one I could best describe as an ’80’s action film filtered through a fever dream. We have the blue collar hero just trying to live his life when a gang of ultimate bastards arrive on the scene and truly fuck up his day, setting him on the path of explosive, bloody vengeance…not to mention the gathering of over-the-top weaponry, and a…tiger?!! I don’t know, random giant cat may be an Xtro reference…only Panos knows for sure, and that can be said for a lot of the imagery…think a neon drenched version of those bird people and Jun horde scenes from Beastmaster and you have a rough approximation of how at least a portion of this film looks…but there is so very much more.
And let’s not forget the absolutely astonishing performances the film features…Nicholas Cage goes from laid back mountain man to pop-eyed murder machine over the course of this film, and he is nothing short of a tour de force to behold…but up to the task of matching him is Linus Roache as Sand, the androgynous religious leader that is petulant child, sex crazed lunatic, and absolutely charismatic evil all in one…he’s like the more human cousin of Richard Lynch’s Bernard Phillips from Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To. Also of note are the guest turns of Bill Duke and Richard Brake. They aren’t in the film long, but they add a lot when on screen.
Usually I talk about the negatives here…but I had none. I haven’t loved a film this much in a damn sight, and if you are wondering what I consider perfection, here ya go boils n’ ghouls!
There is nothing more I can say about Mandy; it’s pure psychotronic eyeball cocaine that will blow your mind out of the back of your skull then shove it back in place with a chainsaw as you sit there drooling hot neon!



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