Watchin’ Stuff #49

Mandy is an extreme revenge movie, one where I’m relatively sure that the entire cast and crew were on a lot of acid the whole time. The whole movie is about acid, really. Hell, the whole thing might even be a nightmare or a bad trip. It’s a weird one alright. You’ll have to see for yourself and come up with your own conclusion. I mean, the core plot taken at face value is simple enough, Nic Cage’s girlfriend gets killed and he goes on an extremely surreal and violent quest for revenge, but there’s also a lot of weird stuff going on here that will make you wonder if there isn’t really something else going on here besides the obvious. Hard to say how much of that is meaningful and how much is just the bizarre effects of the drugs all the characters are on or simply part of the eerily accurate acid trip atmosphere that fills the film.

Also interesting was the way this did a reversal on the old trope of random Satanic killers harassing some pure innocent people. Instead, in Mandy we have Cage and his girlfriend as a couple of metalhead, most likely atheist, types who are menaced by a group of “hippie Jesus freaks”, as Cage puts it in the movie.

Anyway, highly recommended if you like twisted, brutal revenge horrors with a heavy dose of surrealism and metal-ness.

A western film from director Ti West. As is more often the case than not with West, this movie takes it’s damn time getting where its going, to the point that its all more setup than any kind of payoff or worthwhile content. It’s a paint by numbers western where Ethan Hawke comes to a strange new town, gets into it with some locals, they kill his dog and leave him for dead, swears revenge, blah blah blah. Took over an hour just to set things up so they could have a gunfight for 20 minutes in the end, or so I assume, because I got bored and turned it off before it even reached that point. Oh well!

This was an interesting mess of a movie. Slice is about a strange world where the supernatural is real and so common that no one blinks an eye at it anymore. The next neighborhood over is populated by ghosts, people are getting murdered and the main suspect is a werewolf, and the local pizza joint seems to have been built on a portal to hell or something. Business as usual in this town.

The bad news is that this movie clearly had an embarrassingly low budget. The effects are pretty bad and the werewolf, once he finally transforms, is one of the shittiest looking werewolves I’ve ever seen in a movie.

The good news is that this movie is so funny and charming that it’s still worth watching despite how painfully cheap it all is. Sometimes the cheapness even works out in its favor, as most of the bad performances from what I assume are first time actors, are the hilarious kind of bad that’s just plain fun to watch. It’s a fun time as long as you don’t take any of it seriously (not that the movie ever does so either).

One of the latest Scott Adkins films, The Debt Collector is much like most movies he does. It’s got an average, not super original plot, but also a lot of really good fight scenes. This one’s got a bit of humor in it, mostly in the form of Adkins’ partner Louis Mandylor, but that doesn’t stop it from having a lot of fine, fine brutality.

Yet another Rob Zombie movie that’s basically a remake/homage of old 70’s horror movies, except this one was actually pretty decent. He seems to have dialed back the tired hillbilly horror shock factor theme and did a movie that calls back to satanic panic classics like Rosemary’s Baby, and for the most part does so pretty effectively. Maybe he’s finally learning that you don’t need to just cram 70’s rednecks and campy shock value into everything?

Nope, I guess not. He seems to have gone right back to his old tricks in this one. 31 is yet another faux-70’s horror, this time taking on a more grindhouse arena survival theme. Think The Running Man or Manhunt except without a single compelling protagonist or antagonist. There’s a hispanic midget who is also a nazi. That’s the kind of movie this is. Not as terrible as his Halloween, but it’s all pretty forgettable.

As Above, So Below is something I just randomly tossed on in the background while I was playing some Switch. It seemed to be another generic found footage movie and I didn’t really pay it much attention at all for the first half, but as it went on I found my eye being drawn up more and more often. I’m a little fuzzy on those early details, but basically some people find some hidden area in the famous catacombs and go searching for treasure and/or archaeological fame and then…SHENANIGANS!

Being trapped deep underground with nowhere to go but further down is already an unsettling enough idea, but then some very strange things begin to happen and there are actually some pretty damn cool scenes in the later parts. I ended up putting the game down and watching the rest of it and enjoying it.

Kind of a pointless movie. The First Purge is a prequel, but it ends up adding absolutely nothing to the premise of The Purge. Ok, so the government meddled in the purge for their own political ends. Great, but we already learned that back in the second movie and the last two movies already heavily dealt with the subject. This one offers absolutely nothing new on the subject and doesn’t have much else to offer either. Weak action and even weaker characters. Hell, even the TV show has better characters and plots than this did. Better to just skip this one and watch the show instead.

Been seeing this mentioned a lot lately when people are discussing Cage in Mandy. Interesting premise, but there’s not much to it beyond that. The movie doesn’t seem to know whether it’s a comedy or a serious horror/thriller and it doesn’t do either particularly well. It feels like it thinks it’s saying something insightful about the concept of parents sometimes wanting to kill their children too, which is weird, because it never does. Other than a few funny bits by Cage, it’s just not very entertaining.

I had heard that this was some hidden gem of Dolph Lungdren’s, but I don’t see what the big deal is. This is an action movie that takes an hour before the first major action scene even happens. I’ll give it credit for that one long action scene in the middle being pretty decent, but it’s the only good one of the whole movie. The action scene feels a bit out of place too, because it’s so violent and graphic, right in the midst of a movie that’s so bland and subdued for the other 90 minutes. Aside from that one part it’s just a pretty generic, boring movie that’s more cheap drama than action.

6 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff #49

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    It’s nice to see that you enjoyed As above, So below. It’s definitely an, in my opinion bit of an underrated film, and certainly one of the better found footage films out there. The debt collector has been on my list for a while too (as you know I always like Adkins films, so reading this I might check it out tomorrow). Out of all these though Mandy sounds the most interesting. I love revenge films, and this one sounds totally surreal indeed. Cool post! 😊

  2. Peter Saturday says:

    Mandy was easily one of if not my favorite movie this year so far! That movie Slice seems like it has a similar premise in many ways to what i think is a hidden gem, Cast Deadly spell from 1991, you ever seen that?

  3. Peter Saturday says:

    Cast A Deadly Spell, I meant!

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