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Spooktober Review: “Mandy”

Nic Cage: He's still got it

Throughout “Spooktober,” Nicklaus Neitling reviews one horror property each weekday.

Before 2018, I doubt you could have named me one film that features Nic Cage fighting demons with an axe, but thanks to Mandy, now you can.

Released on September 14, 2018, this mystery thriller is a true gem, but won’t be for everyone.

Directed by Panos Cosmatos and featuring the last score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, the film follows Red (Nicolas Cage) and the titular Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) living in isolation in a forest. Their peaceful existence is disturbed when evil cult leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) invades, setting Red on a path of brutal revenge.

What works:
The film is absolutely beautiful. The film grain, the colours, and the cinematography are all stunning. Cosmatos is able to put together a film that successfully blends art house, tense horror, and pure B-movie action. The magnetic Cage gives his most nuanced performance in years, reminding me why I love him as an actor. Expertly crafted, this film might be a true modern masterpiece.

What doesn’t work:
The film doesn’t have much in the way of plot. In fact, the description above is pretty much it, excepting some spoilers. It is very much an arthouse film. If you’re into them, then you’ll love this movie. If you’re not, however, this one won’t change your mind. Also, the actress who portrays Mandy isn’t given much to work with. Her character, I think, is intentionally left vague to play the dangerous game of testing whether or not you can care about her.

This is the one Nic Cage movie that stands above the sea of garbage. Director Cosmatos created a beautiful, mesmerizing film that deserves to be talked about for years to come. Mandy won’t win over any naysayers of arthouse cinema, but it may still be worth a watch. If this is anything to go off, Panos Cosmatos is a director to watch. That is until Disney snatches him up and bullies him into the Marvel franchise.

9.5 coked-out Nic Cages out of 10

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