This is a film of two parts. The opening is very slow and restrained, especially from Nicholas Cage as Red Miller, but it does a good job of setting the scene for Red and the love of his life, Mandy as they go about their peaceful life, squirrelled away in the woods. However, in those early moments it is the ethereal Andrea Riseborough as Mandy that steals all the attention. She may not be in the film for long but her presence and performance remain.
The visual style is fantastic, giving it a real dream- or trip-like feeling but, as with any good horror film, it soon descends into chaos. Brutal and fairly short-lived violent action sequences pepper the second half of this film, sticking in the mind long after the sequence has been and gone.
The feeling of not knowing if you are watching reality or dream sequences provides another level of uncertainty, of not knowing whether we are tethered to reality or not but as it turns out, it doesn’t really matter! What happens is like a horrendous but extremely stylish nightmare and a resurgent Nicholas Cage is central to all that.