If you're looking for a really freaky deaky slasher film to ramp into Halloween, you can probably do a lot worse than the gonzo Nicholas Cage film "Mandy", playing this week at the Capitol Cinema.
Just know what you're getting into.
"Mandy" is a mind-boggling art film more focused on style, mood and cinematography than it is on its downright insane story of a blood-drenched Nicolas Cage getting revenge against a cult in the name of his titular wife. The film is bathed in color — red, specifically — with a score and filming style out of a crazy fever dream.
And "Mandy" knows just how crazy it is, and the cult of personality that loves Nicolas Cage these days.
The story is one of simple revenge. A weirdo cult with a deranged Jesus-figure leader rolls into town, where Cage and his wife, Mandy, live out in the woods. When the leader decides he needs to have Mandy for himself, and he summons all of his nutso minions to do the dirty work, this sets Cage on a path of gory, blood-splattering revenge.
If played straight, this would be a pretty typical revenge film. But "Mandy" does not play it straight. "Mandy" is more screwed up than a student film trying to win an art house Oscar.
Style is the most important thing in "Mandy", and you've got to be willing to roll with it if you have any hope of enjoying this movie. You've got to have a mind for the work that goes into filmmaking. Otherwise, "Mandy" is going to look and feel like a mess.
Though being a big mess of a movie is also part of the draw. After the cinematography, "Mandy" going full tilt into the crazy gore, pushing its "R" rating to the limit in terms of bloody executions and over-the-top encounters. But the gore does not exist just for gore's sake. "Mandy" knows exactly how crazy it wants to be, and it delivers only the weirdest and freakiest gore.
Which also what you can expect from Nicolas Cage's performance. The iconic actor has long since embraced his wild side, and audiences are loving him even more for it. Cage cuts loose in "Mandy", casting aside all restraint to just get really weird with it.
"Mandy" is an absurd movie, but it knows it's absurd and it expects you to keep up and revel in it just as much as the movie does. If you're down for that sort of thing, you might just enjoy the madness.