Decade of death: 10 greatest horror performances of the 2010s

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Nicolas Cage in Mandy–Courtesy of RLJE Films

Nicolas Cage (Mandy)

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In Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic horror film Mandy, Nicolas Cage plays Red Miller, a logger who enjoys a peaceful existence in a cabin with his titular girlfriend. The two lead a quiet life together, having come from their own separately painful pasts and finding solace in each other. While walking to the nearby gas station where she works, Mandy is spotted by the Children of the New Dawn, a cult, and catches the eye of their leader, Jeremiah Sand.

In awe of Mandy’s beauty, Jeremiah orders his disciples to kidnap her with the help of a flesh-eating demon biker gang. This event forces Red out of his calm recluse, pitting him face to face with the subdued darkness of his past and the torment that is overcoming him now. As Red, Nicolas Cage not only gives one of the greatest horror performances of the decade, but arguably the best of his entire career, remaining subdued until the film calls for him to break and roam into the over-the-top territory that we’ve grown accustomed to from the actor.

Cage wears Red’s internal pain so hauntingly well that it allows Mandy, an otherwise trippy, LSD-ride of a horror film, to bear an immense emotional wait. Without Cage to anchor the film, it falls apart. Some actors were born to play certain roles, and such is the case with Nicolas Cage in Mandy.