Nicolas Cage will regain his glory fighting chainsaw to chainsaw against crazy evil.
Some films wilt on the vine of film festivals. Artists practically bleed themselves dry placing every ounce of their being into their narrative, hoping that their offspring mystifyingly gains favor with Sundance or SXSW or whatever. Entrance does not equal acceptance. The premiere comes and goes, and the film is never heard from again.
Then there are films like Mandy. They screen to an unsuspecting crowd, and their minds are melted by the images that invade them. The film is not one that everyone will appreciate, but the sick weirdos out there lap it up with diabolical delight. Buzz sizzles and a fever of anticipation ignites. Nicolas Cage is back. Tell everyone.
Duuuuuuuuuudde. What was that? I’m sure we lost a lot of you. Those that are still reading, though…we’re frothing at the mouth with anticipation. This is a film Cage cultists have been waiting a long time to worship.
Our own Rob Hunter was one of the lucky few who caught Mandy at Sundance this year. He called the film a “uniquely memorable collaboration” between Cage and director Panos Cosmatos that yields “brutal brawls…animated sequences, a chainsaw duel, a mother-flippin’ tiger, and more.” All of which we can see in the above trailer and still not quite grasp exactly what the hell is happening.
Set in the early ’80s, the plot revolves around Cage’s hunt for the crazy evil that shattered his picturesque relationship with Andrea Riseborough. We can expect a healthy amount of squirming imagery that we’ll tolerate because we know we’ll be rewarded with that chainsaw duel. Hellraising cenobite cult members need to get axed, and the howling fury of Nicolas Cage is a most satisfying antidote for evil. Plus, buddy Bill Duke? Oh yeah, get in my petrified eyeballs now.
The trailer is an assault of horror and beauty. An infectious mixture often celebrated in the works of Dario Argento and meticulously replicated in Cosmatos’ previous film, Beyond The Black Rainbow. He is a director who cherishes pace, teasing his audience with uncomfortable questions that he’s happy not to answer. Each frame was born for One Perfect Shot, but if you don’t dig on tone and feel, Beyond the Black Rainbow could leave you scratching your head.
Nicolas Cage has not gone away. However, if you’re not well-versed in Chris Coffel’s The Tao of Cage, you may have missed his recent batch of straight-to-VODers. The actor’s reign as Jerry Bruckheimer’s go-to action hero is over, and he’s settled into a pleasant rhythm of cinematic curiosities. Mandy has the potential to scream his relevance to at least Film Twitter and maybe even grab mainstream attention.
Certainly, you cannot ignore this visual attack. At 2 minutes and 30 seconds, this trailer is a mini-movie packing as much of a visceral punch as a dozen studio horror jump scares. The marketers need not have sweetened the pot with the various quotes of applause from respected critics. We’ve taken notice, and we need to be a part of this madness.