This movie is RED. Nic Cage plays soft spoken lumberjack, Red Miller. He sees red, dreams red, looks red; every character is saturated in this red light, like the devil is lurking absolutely everywhere. Mandy starts off with a quiet sensitivity, depicting artful, wooded landscapes and calming bodies of water and serene darkness. Even with minimal dialogue the audience experiences the entirety of Red and Mandy’s love story. Then throw in cult leader, Jeremiah, and sci-fi biker gang, the Black Skulls and their secluded cabin life goes to Hell. Once the movie shifts to a brutal, grindhouse rampage, some of the most chilling sequences are Red’s animated fever dreams which manage not to feel out of place in an already hallucinatory experience. The 70s and 80s horror nostalgia is strong. It felt very Mad Max meets Texas Chainsaw Masscre meets like...Hellraiser.
I would have liked more scenes with Mandy and the Black Skulls. Visually they had the most captivating and creepy moments for me. I would watch a full-length feature starring any of them. I'm interested to see if Nic Cage gets the high praise he deserves for his role much like Toni Collete in Hereditary, the academy tends to ignore horror movies almost completely. I think whether people loved those films or not, it would be shocking to deny how amazing their performances were.
If you liked Mandy I would also recommend the 2018 film Revenge as it is similar to Mandy in exploitation and violence but from a female revenge perspective. And really most people favor at least one Nic Cage movie so why not give Mandy a chance this Halloween season? Do it for Cheddar Goblin!