Sublets escapes Panos Cosmatos latest film, which is somewhat of a blessing and somewhat of a curse. There’s everything to like regarding what learn about the titular character, but she dies so soon that the film finds itself in over-the-top mode possibly quicker than it needed to. Yet, by design Mandy Seems created specifically as a vehicle for Nicholas Cage to flip the hell out – and don’t worry he does – but since it’s clear as day that we’re gonna wind up there – would it have been such a crime to explore their relationship a little more before he does?
Rather than ruminate on the film that could have been, we’ll focus on the film that is and what you see is exactly what you get with Mandy. It’s violent, brutal and quite unforgiving and yes Cage goes berserk with his vengeance (as he should). While a slight disservice to never learn to much about Mandy, the hows and the whys of the killer gangs intentions are also muddled simply in madness with a bit of paganistic ritual thrown in for good reason.
To its credit the film is entertaining to watch with a horror-genre loving crowd, as that was my experience at Sundance, and it truly will be best seen in such circumstances or surrounded by a group of friends with drinks in hand. As for adding anything new, interesting or even scary to the genre beyond a few good jokes and a couple buckets of blood – the film falls short.
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READ MORE FROM THE 2018 SUNDANCE GUIDE:
Bubbling up from somewhere in the realm of madness and chaos comes the eagerly awaited latest from grandiose filmmaker Panos Cosmatos. Somewhere in the primal wilderness near the Shadow Mountains in the year 1983, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage, in an adrenaline-inducing performance) has fallen deeply for the beguiling Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough). But the life he has made for himself comes suddenly and horrifyingly crashing down when a vile band of ravaging idolaters and supernatural creatures penetrate his idyllic paradise with vicious fury. A broken man, Red now lives for one thing only—to hunt down these maniacal villains and exact swift vengeance.
In his delicious follow-up to cult hit Beyond the Black Rainbow, Cosmatos gleefully demonstrates an audacious command of tone and atmosphere, conjuring an ethereal treat for the senses that begs to be seen on a big screen. Awash in a salacious sea of gloriously unhinged performances, carnage, colors, and sounds, Cosmatos grinds up beloved genre tropes into a fine pulp and sculpts them into something altogether otherworldly.
Born in the ’70s to a Greek movie director and a Swedish experimental artist, Cosmatos spent his early years traveling around the globe, including living in Mexico for a year in 1980. Exposure to the global interpretations of American pop culture had a profound effect on his creative life. Eventually landing in the isolated suburbs of Vancouver, Canada, Cosmatos obsessed over the minutiae of heavy metal, fantasy art, science fiction, and horror films. He still does.
Cast & Credits
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Screenwriter: Panos Cosmatos / Aaron Stewart-Ahn
Producers: Josh Waller / Elijah Wood / Daniel Noah / Nate Bolotin / Adrian Politowski / Martin Metz
Executive Producers: Lisa Whalen / Nadia Khamlichi / Todd Brown / Nick Spicer / Christopher Figg
Principal Cast: Nicolas Cage / Andrea Riseborough / Linus Roache / Olwen Fouéré / Richard Brake / Bill Duke