Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Panos Cosmatos
Written by Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn
With all of the rave reviews out there I wonder did they see the same film I did. Sure Nic Cage is your typical Nic Cage, but nothing on display here would be anything I would rave about. The director also created the story, and this story is not at all unique in the slightest. In fact it borrow so heavily from other cult classics that it is much like a Frankenstein of parts of better films with better stories to tell.
Here comes the spoilers.
Red Miller (Nic Cage) and Mandy Bloom live in a house in the mountains…the “Shadow Mountains”. Let’s just use some basic D&D naming conventions here. Red is a lumberjack and Mandy is an artist. Both live quiet and uneventful lives. That is until the day Mandy is walking along the road and a van full of cult people drive by and their leader takes a liking to Mandy. The film at this point is already running a bit long with exposition by at least five minutes worth of screen time then takes a nose dive as what passes as one part Hellraiser, one part Children of the Corn, and a healthy does of Stranger Things take over. I found myself trying hard to find a scene or sequence that was not a homage of some form to another film. I can say Evil Dead, Mad Max, and a plethora of other films can be traced to this film, but this film does injustice to those films. Don’t get me started on the blue and red obsessive lighting, but hey this is the director’s way of showing us a LSD trip.
So Red gets tied up and has to watch his wife get burned alive and he eventually gets free and goes on a revenge killing spree. He get a crossbow named reaper that for some reason was stored at a friend’s house with no real explanation why other than to setup some dialogue about the cult. He then blacksmiths a fantastical weapon that nothing prior in the film indicated he could blacksmith such a weapon. Then he goes about an entire night of killing everyone in such cheesy way that is if actually laughable if it wasn’t trying too hard to pass as gory and horrific.
How to fix this film? Well for starters let’s break down the film as a feverish LCD trip gone bad. If that is established then we can work that angle into this film. After the climax of the film, have Mandy drive up in a car to pick up Red which would be different than him getting into the car and seeing Mandy (or Mandy as a ghost). When Mandy looks at him from the car she sees him with sticks in his hands and he has been crushing a piece of a tree bark as if it was the cult leaders head. They get in the car and drive home, but the end credits show what really happened. Mandy’s friends came over and Red started to have a massive bad LSD trip and they decide to mess with him all night. So we get cut scenes of various scenes in the film, but told from the friend’s perspective. Mandy passed out so she was unaware about what her friends were doing all night till she wakes up and goes to pick up Red. So the entire film was truly just a LSD fueled nightmare. This would do a couple of things. Lend reason why there were so many homages to other films as the friends were actually talking about doing this scene or another as they went along improvising ways to continue messing with Red. Red never killed anyone but they staged fights with Red with bushes and trees. Immediately the film would deserve a repeat viewing, or at least get viewers to come again and drag their friends along for the trip (pun intended). Finally doing something as bold as this direction would give the horror fantasy genre something special to elevate this film to a true cult status, and not just a wannabe.
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