Love, Gore & LSD: Nic Cage’s ‘Mandy’ Is An Instant Cult Classic

Photo: Mandy (RLJE Films) 

“When I die, bury me deep, lay two speakers at my feet. Wrap some headphones around my head, and rock and roll me when I’m dead.”

This quote is your introduction into Nic Cage’s acid-laced revenge thriller, Mandy, which manifests its heavy metal-inspired tone in a visceral and bloody movie from Beyond the Black Rainbow writer and director Panos Cosmatos.

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The story is fairly straightforward: Mandy is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller (Cage), a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who are capable of summoning a demon biker gang who slaughtered the love of his life (Andrea Riseborough).

Mandy is a drug-induced melding of genres, playing as a revenge horror fantasy with touches of romance and dark comedy. It’s also a movie that only works as well as it does because of Nicolas Cage, who brings plenty of pain and rage as a heartbroken man seeking vengeance while struggling with fresh grief (though I disagree with others that it’s his best performance). It’s a vibrant, pulpy experience that is worth a second watch to make sure whether or not you even like it. You’ll need to sleep on it for a night and reexamine what the hell you just witnessed the next day.

The movie helms from a director inspired by grindhouse horror, heavy metal, the 80’s, and dark times in our history (Linus Roache’s Jeremiah Sand is similar to real-life cult leader Charles Manson, a failed musician who took it very personally when his music was insulted, used psychedelic drugs, and referred to his victims as pigs).

There are many elements that work well alongside Cage, such as the late Jóhann Jóhannsson’s excellent score, memorable visuals, originality, cameos from Richard Brake and Bill Duke, Riseborough’s grounding performance, and an intriguing two-part story structure, literally split between the first and second hour, where things escalate to a bloody and maniacal climax.

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Mandy is ultimately an instant cult classic that is definitely not for everyone but is a must for horror fans. Read on to see some of the best comments on Twitter about the movie, and then do yourself a favor and check it out on VOD or in select theaters.