Mandy tells the story of a couple living in a quaint little house out in the woods and then they run afoul of a group of murderous hippy folks who control a gang of cenobites uh, I mean, demon bikers and do some pretty good acid. Some bad shit happens, Nicolas Cage morphs into Nicholas Rage and fucks shit up. That about covers it.
I bet you’re almost as sick and goddamned tired of hearing about this movie as I am so I am going to try to keep this review short, sweet, and honest. If you’re looking for another review hailing this flick as a “singular cinematic experience” or some other such pretentious shit, you’re gonna be hella disappointed, chief because this ain’t it.
Okay, so let’s start with the beginning of the movie. It is fucking boring. Seriously, they could have shaved about 45 minutes or so off the first act and it would have been fine. Usually when there’s a slow burn it takes time building characters and making you care about things. Not Mandy. There is so much wooden dialog that it felt like it was written by aliens who kind of knew about humans but not really. So much time was wasted trying (and succeeding) to be artistic and building a psychedelic aesthetic that by the time something happened I didn’t give a fuck. The only thing that mattered to me was that something was finally happening.
One of the most intriguing things about the first act of Mandy is how it managed to pack in so many truly enjoyable elements and still be so goddamned uninteresting. It was, at least, visually interesting with the vivid colors and high contrast. The scenes where everyone is frying on what I can only assume was some sort of devil acid were neat looking too. The colors, blur, and tracers that you see are all pretty accurate to what eating a couple decent tabs is like (So I’ve heard from my pal SWIM) so that was cool. They gag Nic Cage with barbed wire and set his ol’ lady on fire in front of him and still manage to make it incredibly dull. That was absolutely mind boggling. It takes some serious artistic chops to make burning someone alive boring.
Speaking of Nic Cage, he has become kind of a meme lately. Some would say that going on a low carb diet is the only way he would turn down a role. I had pretty much written him off but after seeing him in Mandy I see the error of my ways. Nicolas Cage is indeed a national treasure. Seeing him Nic around was the only thing I really enjoyed about this movie. If my heart were the Declaration of Independence, he would have stolen it by the end of the movie. Watching him go full Nicolas Cage is literally the only reason to not shut the movie off. His facial expressions while he watches his lover burn up like a matchstick? Man, it’s just incredible. He then goes from a normal family man to a lord of war in the space of a few scenes. He drives angry and murders the shit out of a bunch of people in increasingly hilarious ways. All it takes for him to turn into an army of one is to see his valley girl stolen and burned like some kind of big effigy. If this movie proves anything it is that Nic Cage is truly kick ass. While the climax is an acid fueled head crushing faceoff, the most Nicolas Cage thing in the movie is a chainsaw sword fight. Nic uses his average sized and perfectly adequate chainsaw to do battle with a guy with a giant log destroying machine and totally splits him in half proving once again that size doesn’t matter.
In all seriousness though, I remember saying, “If your slow burn includes literally burning someone alive and managing to make it boring, the rest of the movie had better fucking pay off,” and honestly, it did. The kills are cool as fuck, the over-the-top violence is fun, and watching Nicolas Cage’s campy rubber face act actually fit a part was a nice change. Mandy is kind of like a date with someone who is super hot, really boring, and likes freaky sex: it’s nice to look at for awhile which almost makes up for the boredom you’re gonna feel and if you put in the time it gets pretty exciting in the end.
All in all, would I recommend this movie? I guess. If for no other reason than to say you watched it. The critics are all sucking Mandy’s dick and if you’re high enough I think you’ll enjoy at least some of it. It’ll be available on Shudder tomorrow so you can go check it out. If you don’t have a Shudder subscription you can use promo code TNHORROR to get thirty days free. If you’ve got a bunch of patience and like trippy visuals, go ahead and check it out.