Mandy (2018)

IMDB: [NR]ย The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiraling, surreal rampage of vengeance.

Rating: [6]๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค

If you want a fun, sunny time this ain’t it. Turn back now. If you’re up for feeling like you’re on drugs and drown in some gore, buckle up and let’s go. There’s not a great way to really describe this story. The summary above does a good job but it can’t capture the feeling and slow pacing. The lights, colors, and score make this one part King Crimson music video-the opening track, one part fantasy world, one part acid trip, and one part bloody, culty revenge flick. It’s Not Rated so you’re in for heaps of gore and some extra nudity versus an R-rated movie. (Though personally I feel nudity/sex is often rated much more harshly than it should be.)

What I Loved:
There are some TRUELY, amazing visually stunning parts. They play with color, light, film effects, and design. They’re reminiscent 2001: A Space Odyssey’s final “trip” and Apocalypse Now‘s pacing, colors, and smoke. The music and overture takes the place of most dialogue. It really feels stunning and similar in a few ways to watching Pink Floyd: The Wall in depth of sound mixed with visuals. Overall, it was worthwhile to watch. It was… interesting, bizarre, and pretty fun. There are some funny bits and it’s supposed to be over the top. I’m honestly a fan of Nicolas Cage in just about anything. But it would be tough to recommend this to anyone who isn’t into really, really strange and slow movies. If you love things like that, by all means, give it a try.

What I Didn’t’ Love:
STROBE LIGHTING!๐Ÿšจ Okay, I wrote in my Pandorum review a bit about strobe lights effects in movies. 1) They’re overdone 2) They’re less atmospheric than people think 3) I literally cannot watch them – same with many others who are light sensitive. I’ve taken off an ENTIRE heart for the FOUR severe strobe scenes.

The pacing is a bit off. There is a lot to just look cool, which is fine in stages. However there are so many slow motion parts and slow moving progression that I found myself getting a bit tired. There’s little dialogue so it relies on the visuals and music to keep you entertained. On occasion I started wanting it to just move on.

Overall I just wanted a bit MORE. Add a bit more to each scene. Give it some more feeling. Throw in a bit more rock and roll. Go even a little MORE over the top with the revenge and I would love it more.

“A psychotic drowns where the mystic swims. You’re drowning. I’m swimming.”

Top Trope:
Magical Minority that guides and arms our hero.

Spoilers: Click to Reveal

Like any revenge flick, our hero loses something close. The cult takes Red’s wife Mandy and dopes her up on some strong LSD and a strange wasp sting. When she laughs at cult leader Jeremiah Sand – specifically after he opens his robe to reveal his nudity thusly emasculating him – she’s then burned alive in front of Red. Her face is left and blows to ashes in Red’s hands – ew.

Then, Red’s mad. He gears up, somehow has time to create an axe, and sets the road to revenge. First taking out some other-worldly bikers and then the remaining cult members. There’s chainsaws, axes, cross bows, chains, and of course drugs.

Killing the final cult leader Red exclaims, “I am your God now.” and drives away triumphant but lonely.