It’s 1983 and Nicolas Cage is living in the middle of a forest with his significant other, Andrea Riseborough. All is peaceful, all is nice, but not for long.
You could never accuse Nicolas Cage (“Mom And Dad“, “Drive Angry”) of underacting, and, if you want rage in your film, someone to completely lose their sh*t, you give Cage a call.
That’s exactly what writer/director Panos Cosmatos did for his second film after Beyond The Black Rainbow, as well bringing Elijah Wood on board as producer. Despite being only two films into his career, Cosmatos is already making a name for himself and has established a pattern in his films; LSD will feature, a commune or cult and plenty of surreal imagery.
In Mandy, Cosmatos takes that and adds in a whacking great dollop of grindhouse for good measure whilst giving nods to everything from Friday The 13th to Phantasm 2 (though the chainsaw death isn’t quite on a par).
It also has a feel of Stranger Things (though you could definitely argue Cosmatos was there first), the films of S. Craig Zahler and Robert Rodriguez (not counting Spy Kids) but most of all, it’s absolutely batsh*t nuts!
In the begging, all is well and benign. People go about their lives, read books, have meals, watch TV, talk-sh*t and generally there couldn’t be less of a clue as to what is about to befall these quiet folks.
Cage is a logger and returns home to his artistic partner Riseborough (“The Death Of Stalin“, “Oblivion”) who, whilst out walking one day, is noticed by local cult leader Jeremiah Sand, Linus Roache (“Homeland (TV)”, “Non-Stop”).
He gets Brother Swan, Ned Dennehy (“Peaky Blinders (TV)”, “Glitch (TV)”), to take a strange stone-flute-thing into the forest and summon the Black Skulls, a bunch of bikers who have lost their minds on some f*cked-up LSD, to obtain Riseborough as his latest recruit.