Mandy (2018 film)

Mandy is a 2018 psychedelic psychological horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos, produced by Elijah Wood and co-written by Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn based on a story Cosmatos conceived. A co-production of the United States and Belgium, the film stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, and Bill Duke.

Mandy (2018 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPanos Cosmatos
Screenplay by
  • Panos Cosmatos
  • Aaron Stewart-Ahn
Story byPanos Cosmatos
Produced by
  • Daniel Noah
  • Josh C. Waller
  • Elijah Wood
  • Adrian Politowski
  • Martin Metz
  • Nate Bolotin
CinematographyBenjamin Loeb
Edited byBrett W. Bachman
Music byJóhann Jóhannsson
Distributed byRLJE Films
Release date
  • January 19, 2018 (2018-01-19) (Sundance)
  • September 14, 2018 (2018-09-14) (United States)
Running time
121 minutes
Budget$6 million[3]
Box office$1.4 million[4]

It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, and was theatrically released on September 14, 2018 by RLJE Films.

Mandy was praised for its style and originality, Cage's performance, Cosmatos' direction, and the action sequences. It is one of the last films scored by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who died in February 2018. The film is dedicated to him.[5]


In 1983, somewhere near the Shadow Mountains, Red Miller leads a quiet and reclusive life with his girlfriend, artist and author Mandy Bloom. He works as a logger, while she has a day job as a gas station cashier. In their cabin by a lake, Mandy creates elaborate fantasy art, which Red admires greatly. Their conversations hint at a complicated past and psychological hardship. Red appears to be a recovering alcoholic and possibly a veteran, while Mandy recounts traumatic childhood experiences.

On her way to work, Mandy walks past a van carrying the Children of the New Dawn, a deviant hippie cult led by the egomaniacal and vile Jeremiah Sand. Sand is struck by Mandy's beauty and orders one of his disciples, Brother Swan, to kidnap Mandy with the help of the Black Skulls, a demonic biker gang with a taste for human flesh and a highly potent liquid form of LSD.

At night, Swan drives out to the lake and summons the Black Skulls by blowing a mystical ocarina carved from lava stone. After Swan offers them a low-ranking member of the cult as a sacrifice, they break into the couple's home and subdue Mandy and Red. The two female members of the cult, Mother Marlene and Sister Lucy, drug Mandy with LSD and venom from a giant black wasp before presenting her to Sand. Sand, a failed musician, attempts to seduce Mandy with his psychedelic folk music, telling her that God had told him to take anything he wanted. Mandy laughs at Sand, infuriating him. Seeking revenge, he stabs Red, who is tied and gagged with barbed wire, then burns Mandy alive in front of him. After nothing but ash remains, Sand and his followers leave. Red frees himself, mourns over Mandy's ashes, goes back inside, and falls asleep, exhausted and in shock. After waking up from a nightmare, he consumes a bottle of vodka, tends to his wounds, and shrieks in agony, grief, and rage.

In the morning, Red fetches "the reaper", his crossbow, from his friend Caruthers. Caruthers provides him with freshly crafted bolts and information on the Black Skulls. According to Caruthers, the Black Skulls were drug couriers who turned sadomasochistic after they consumed a bad batch of LSD. Before Red leaves, Caruthers warns him that his odds of survival are poor. Red forges a battle axe and hunts down the bikers. He shoots one with his crossbow and attempts to run him down but is captured in the process. At their hideout, Red breaks free and kills the bikers in a bloody battle. Searching their hideout, he consumes some of their cocaine and tainted LSD, causing him to instantly and severely hallucinate.

Seeking out a radio tower he envisioned earlier, Red encounters The Chemist, a mysterious drug manufacturer, who tells him where to find the Children of the New Dawn. At their makeshift wooden church in a quarry, Red kills Brothers Swan and Hanker with his axe and kills Brother Klopek in a chainsaw duel, sparing only the life of Sister Lucy. In the tunnels beneath the church, Red finds Mother Marlene and decapitates her. He then finds Sand, taunting him by throwing Marlene's severed head at him. Sand begs for mercy, but Red crushes his skull. He sets Sand's body and the church on fire before driving away. As Red heads towards an unknown fate, he starts envisioning Mandy in the passenger seat of his car, while the landscape behind him now appears fantastical and otherworldly.



On June 7, 2017, Nicolas Cage was announced as the star of the film.[9] Production used the Arri Alexa camera, coupled with the Panavision anamorphic format, to achieve the film's old-school atmosphere.[10]

Legion M, an entertainment studio that allows fans to invest in and be part of the creation of films, was a production partner for Mandy and hosted a panel discussion featuring director Panos Cosmatos and others at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. Cage made a surprise appearance at the event.[11]

The weapon forged by Red was based on the “F” from the logo for extreme metal band Celtic Frost.[12]


The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 19.[13] It began a limited cinematic release on September 13, 2018, playing at a maximum of 250 theatres, and was released on VOD on September 14.[14][15]


Critical responseEdit

According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 246 reviews, with an average rating of 7.60/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Mandy's gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage—and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts."[16] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[17]

Reviewing the film after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Nick Allen of praised it, writing that "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."[18]

In a five-star review for Dirty Movies, Stephen Lee Naish called the film "a blood soaked revenge caper," praising Cosmatos for a "masterful approach" that "aligns him with Kubrick and Lynch in delivering perfectly believable and fully realized worlds and characters that operate within their own laws of physics."[19] Meanwhile, film critic Christopher Stewardson said the film "is sure to become a cult favourite all of its own."[20]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Austin Film Critics Association Awards January 7, 2019 Best Score Jóhann Jóhannsson Won [21][22]
Best Stunts Mandy Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards December 8, 2018 Best Original Score Jóhann Jóhannsson Nominated [23]
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards December 3, 2018 Best Use of Music Jóhann Jóhannsson Nominated [24]
Dublin Film Critics' Circle Awards December 20, 2018 Best Cinematography Benjamin Loeb 5th place [25]
Best Film Mandy 10th place[a]
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards February 25, 2019 Best Actor Nicolas Cage Won [26][27]
Best Director Panos Cosmatos Nominated
Best Limited Release Mandy Won
Best Makeup FX Oriane de Neve Nominated
Best Score Jóhann Jóhannsson Won
Best Supporting Actor Linus Roache Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 14, 2018 Best Original Score — Independent Film Jóhann Jóhannsson Nominated [28]
Houston Film Critics Society Awards January 3, 2019 Best Poster Mandy Nominated [29]
Independent Spirit Awards February 23, 2019 Best Cinematography Benjamin Loeb Nominated [30]
Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival July 16, 2018 Narcisse Award for Best Feature Film Mandy Nominated [31][32]
Saturn Awards September 13, 2019 Best Actor Nicolas Cage Nominated [33]
Best Independent Film Mandy Won
Seattle Film Critics Society Awards December 17, 2018 Best Original Score Jóhann Jóhannsson Won [34]
Sitges Film Festival October 15, 2018 Best Director Panos Cosmatos Won [35]
  1. ^ Tied with The Rider


  1. ^ a b Harvey, Denis (January 20, 2018). "'Mandy' Review: Sundance Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  2. ^ Grierson, Tim (8 May 2018). "'Mandy': Cannes Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Anthony (17 December 2018). "Sundance Hits and Misses: How MoviePass, Politics and Streaming Boosted the Indie Theatrical Box Office of 2018". Filmmaker Magazine. Independent Filmmaker Project. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Mandy (2018) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Debruge, Peter (February 10, 2018). "How Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Helped Change the Genre Cinema Soundscape". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Miska, Brad (January 16, 2018). "The 'Mandy' Poster Promises a Nicolas Cage Chainsaw Battle!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Benardello, Karen (January 19, 2018). "Mandy and A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night Set to World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival". Shock Ya!. Anakando Media Group. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mandy Details and Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (June 7, 2017). "Nicolas Cage To Star In Action Thriller 'Mandy' From SpectreVision, XYZ Films & Umedia". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  10. ^ O'Falt, Chris (January 18, 2018). "Sundance 2018: Here Are the Cameras Used to Shoot This Year's Narrative Films". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  11. ^ Canton, KC (January 21, 2018). "Nic Cage Crashes the Legion M Sundance Panel for 'Mandy'". Boom Howdy. Archived from the original on July 2, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Robertson, Adi; Bishop, Bryan; Robinson, Tasha (January 30, 2018). "Our favorite feature films from Sundance 2018". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Mandy (2018) - Daily Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  15. ^ Pearson, Ben (August 17, 2018). "'Mandy' Advance Screenings Coming to 226 Theaters, Featuring Conversation with Nicolas Cage and Director Panos Cosmatos". /Film. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "Mandy (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  17. ^ "Mandy Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  18. ^ Allen, Nick (January 20, 2018). "Sundance 2018: Mandy". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Mandy - film review". DMovies. September 22, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  20. ^ Stewardson, Christopher (2018-10-13). "Review: Mandy (2018) - Our Culture Mag". Our Culture Mag. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  21. ^ Stoddard, Elizabeth (January 7, 2019). "2018 Awards - Austin Film Critics Association". Austin Film Critics Association. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Whittaker, Richard (December 28, 2018). "Austin Film Critics Release 2018 Awards Nominee Lists". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  23. ^ Suzanne-Mayer, Dominick; Roffman, Michael (December 7, 2018). "Chicago Film Critics Association announces 2018 nominees". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  24. ^ Suzanne-Mayer, Dominick; Roffman, Michael (December 7, 2018). "Chicago Film Critics Association announces 2018 nominees". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  25. ^ Kelly, Aoife (December 20, 2018). "Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards 2018 – the results are in, with a few surprises". Irish Independent. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  26. ^ Pearson, Ben (February 25, 2019). "Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Honor 'Hereditary', 'Mandy', and 'The Haunting of Hill House'". /Film. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ Rife, Katie (January 22, 2019). "Screw the Oscars, let's see who got nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  28. ^ "'Black Panther,' 'A Star Is Born' Lead 2018 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Nominees". Variety. Archived from the original on 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  29. ^ Darling, Cary (December 16, 2018). "'The Favourite' a favorite with Houston Film Critics Society". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 16, 2018). "2019 Spirit Award Nominations: 'We The Animals' Tops With Five, A24 Leads All Distributors, Studio Classic Labels Come Up Short". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  31. ^ O'Keeffe, Christopher (June 21, 2018). "Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival Announces Full Lineup For 2018". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  32. ^ O'Keeffe, Christopher (July 16, 2018). "Neuchatel 2018: Gaspar Noe's CLIMAX Takes Top Prize". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  33. ^ Hammond, Pete (July 15, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame', 'Game Of Thrones' Lead Saturn Award Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Macdonald, Moira (December 17, 2018). "Seattle film critics name 'Roma' best movie of 2018". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  35. ^ Mayorga, Emilio (October 15, 2018). "Gaspar Noé's 'Climax' Takes Top Honors at Sitges". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2019.

External linksEdit