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The Shadow Mountains, 1983. Red and Mandy lead a loving and peaceful existence; but when their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.
Mandy is a 2018 psychedelic action horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos and co-written by Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn. A co-production of the United States and Canada, the film stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, and Bill Duke. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, and was theatrically released on September 14, 2018 by RLJE Films. Mandy received critical acclaim, with praise directed at its style and originality, Cage’s performance, Cosmatos’ direction, and the action sequences.
Mandy 2019 Story:
Somewhere near the Shadow Mountains in the year 1983, Red Miller lives with his girlfriend, artist Mandy Bloom, in a cabin near the lake. Red works as a logger, while Mandy has a day job as a cashier at a nearby gas station in the woods. She creates elaborate fantasy art, and Red admires her work greatly. They lead a quiet and reclusive life, and their conversations and behavior hint at a difficult past and psychological hardship. Red appears to be a recovering alcoholic and possible veteran, and Mandy recounts traumatic childhood experiences.
On her way to work, Mandy walks past a van carrying the Children of the New Dawn, a deviant Manson-esque hippie cult led by Jeremiah Sand. Sand is struck by Mandy’s beauty and orders one of his disciples, Brother Swan, to kidnap Mandy with the help of the Black Skulls, a demonic biker gang with a taste for human flesh and a liquid, highly potent form of LSD.
At night, Swan drives out to the lake and summons the Black Skulls by blowing a mystical horn. After Swan offers them a low-ranking member of the cult as a sacrifice, they break into the couple’s home and subdue Mandy and Red. The two female members of the cult, Mother Marlene and Sister Lucy, drug Mandy with LSD and venom from a giant black wasp before presenting her to Sand. Sand – a failed musician – attempts to seduce Mandy with his psychedelic folk music, telling her that God had told him to take anything he wanted. Mandy ridicules him, leaving him confused and infuriated. Seeking revenge, Sand stabs Red, who is tied and gagged with barbed wire, then burns Mandy alive in front of him. After nothing but ash remains of Mandy, Sand and his followers leave. Red frees himself, mourns over Mandy’s ashes, goes back inside and falls asleep, exhausted and in shock. After waking up from a nightmare, he consumes a bottle of vodka, tends to his wounds, and shrieks in agony, grief, and rage.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 224 reviews, and an average rating of 7.63/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Mandy’s gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage—and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
Reviewing the film after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com praised it, writing that “for all of the endless feral performances that Cage has given, in movies good, bad and forgettable, Cosmatos’ style-driven, ‘80s-tastic passion for weird worlds and characters takes full advantage of Cage’s greatness, and then some.”