Out this week in cinemas is the utterly bonkers and absurdly entertaining Mandy. Starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough.
It is truly the beginning of the season of the witch with Mandy which can only be described as a revenge horror fueled by psychedelic visuals and a thrilling score.
At the head of this crazy train is Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough who play Red and the titular Mandy. These two are nestled within the hidden depths of the appropriately macabre Shadow Mountains. They live an idyllic life together where they live in comfort and relative bliss.
That is until Mandy happens to cross paths with a group of individuals that are best described as a deviant hippie cult.
This group of individuals is lead by Jeremiah (Linus Roache) a man who believes himself a conduit to an ancient god. He chooses Mandy as his latest conquest and from there the events of the film spiral into a pit of surreal terror of which Red must try and conquer.
Mandy is easily the most bonkers film I have seen of 2018. I didn’t realise until I watched this film that I hadn’t seen full Cage mode, possibly ever. I have seen glimpses of it from video reviews on Nicolas Cage in the past but I hadn’t seen it first hand in a long time. I will say Cage doesn’t go full Cage until the final third of the film and it is glorious. Watching him tear down the scenery with his teeth is fascinating and you’re glued to the screen.
Cage isn’t the only one bringing his A game Risenborough is stunningly ethereal as the titular character. She is warm, vulnerable, but also has a palpable strength when facing off against the evil forces within this film. Director Panos Cosmatos clearly knows this because the way he shoots the scenes with Red and Mandy are breathtaking. There is also a mesmerising beauty to the landscape of the film. The choice of colours and camera angles sells the mood of each scene and it is highly effective.
The villains of the piece “The Children of the New Dawn” and the monstrous “Black Skulls” are compelling in particular the Black Skulls. These are a horrifying biker gang that are basically the children of the Cenobites and they are terrifying. There are even four of them which further alludes to the villainous demons from Clive Barker’s iconic Hellraiser.
If there are any issues with the film is that at times it is hard to follow. Scenes follow each other and they don’t all make sense in how they work together and that may lose people. I know I was lost at one or two portions of this film and it took me out of the film.
Mandy is one of those films. You’ll watch it, you’ll be affected by it but you may not want to watch it ever again. This is where the strength of the film comes from. It’s a visceral and horrifying story filled with over the top visuals and acting and it’s a must-see during the Halloween season.