Mandy (2018) film review - psychotic psychedelia

‘Mandy’ is billed as a psychedelic horror movie that stars Nicholas Cage as a man whose wife is killed by a bunch of “Jesus freaks” (as Cage calls them) and Andrea Riseborough as his wife, the eponymous Mandy.

The “Jesus freaks” are a strange bunch indeed and they don’t work alone. They recruit the services of a bizarre set of ‘monsters’ who were once a biker gang but are now horrific creatures, one with a sword for a penis and another that puts me in mind of Clive Barker’s ‘Pin Man’.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster and so, by and large, it was. That’s just my opinion though. It was apparently quite well received by others and elicited such comments as:

"Mandy's gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage—and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts." (Rotten Tomatoes, who gave it an astonishing 92%)

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." (US film review site

And it garnered a scarcely believable 81 out of 100 on Metacritic who indicated it had:

"universal acclaim"

If you haven’t guessed by now, I tend to disagree with these assessments.

It is indeed a ‘psychedelic’ movie and it cuts in animations, uses mood lighting and portrays an over all aura that enhances the psychedelic feel. But I think it tries too hard. It didn’t grip me and Cage’s rampage in the second half just became too frantic and went on too long. I was glad when it was all over.

It runs for 121 minutes and I think 30 minutes could be trimmed off that without losing anything.

I tend to think horror is generally better when it involves psychological tension where nothing much happens, where a subtle wrongness is implied and a film builds up to those ‘jump’ or ‘shock’ moments. ‘Mandy’ fails to do that in the first half and it’s just too full on, slasher-like in the second half.

It’s not a complete loss and, as the RogerEgbert site says above, if you’re hankering for an “80s-tastic” feel it might just float your boat, and there are some scenes that are spooky and worthy of praise. I can’t see where all the gushing praise comes from though.

For a film to rate above average (above 2.5 stars) with me I must at least be open to the idea of watching it again even if I don’t seek out a repeat as a matter or urgency. I certainly don’t want to watch ‘Mandy’ again, so it’s only 2 stars from me.

Product Page
A psychedelic horror movie starring Nicholas Cage and Andrea Riseborough.
Production Co
Action, Fantasy, Horror
121 minutes
Release Date
Nicholas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache
Panos Cosmatos
More Info
My Opinion
Mandy didn't float my boat at all. It's certainly plenty psychedelic and has an 80s feel as a result, but it's too slasher-like for my tastes and is about 30 minutes too long.
My Rating
2 out of 5: Below Average
Amazon £6.55