Mandy Movie Review
I don’t often review Nicolas Cage movies, but then again Nicolas Cage isn’t usually in movies where a demented cult murders his girlfriend and he goes on a murderous rampage, killing humans and demons alike. Mandy, from constellation Panos Cosmatos, isn’t necessarily what you’d call a good movie, but if you like your horror movies about murderous, demon-killing rampages with a dose of the psychedelic and a splash of strange Nic Cage facial expressions…
Look. No. Further.
Filmed as if ripped from an early 80’s acid trip, Mandy is weird-but-not-too-weird, a proper blend of nostalgic cult horror and trippy oddness that works surprisingly well. Grainy and often off color, and clearly shot on a budget or at least meant to look that way, the movie works its way through a surprisingly simple plot, one in which Nic Cage chews scenery the way only Nic Cage can chew scenery—yet also in a restrained way that may convince you that the actor isn’t forever lost to the halls of direct-to-VOD hell—as he goes about killing man and monster that are never fully explained.
Cage is a good fit for the role, as he often excels when he’s allowed to be a little batshit crazy, and Cosmatos surrounds him with a surprisingly decent cast, including a nearly unrecognizable Andrea “Give Her Makeup Artist an Oscar” Riseborough and Linus Roache, who played Bruce Wayne’s dad in Batman Begins but here looks and acts just what you’d expect of a deranged cult leader.
As trippy and brutal as Mandy is at times—my wife, every time she walked into the room to ask me something, started off with “What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Watching?”—I actually was expecting more craziness and more senseless violence than what Cosmatos actually gives us. A little more of Roache and his cohorts would have helped, to really seal the deal that these are some crazy sons of bitches.
Still, the whole look and feel of Mandy works, and I’m generally not one to be swayed by throwback grindhouse kind of movies. It’s fun to watch Nic Cage be Nic Cage, and it’s fun to watch Nic Cage being Nic Cage as he goes around revenge-killing nasty demon-things and crazy cult bastards.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.