MANDAO OF THE DEAD (2018) Reviews and overview


‘This Halloween… Jay and Jackson are going astral.’

Mandao of the Dead is a 2018 American comedy horror feature film written, directed and starring Scott Dunn. The movie also stars Alexandre Chen, Sean Liang and Gina Gomez.

A sequel, Mandao Returns, was released in 2020.

The second in a planned trilogy of films will take place around Christmas. After abstaining from astral projecting, Jay Mandao’s life starts to unravel. Jay’s cousin Andy hatches a plan to steal money from the past after encountering some serious financial issues. To make matters worse, they encounter an evil ghost intent on possessing one of their bodies to live again. Jay, Jackson, Cousin Andy, and their cab driver Fer must team up to stop the entity. Will they succeed?


Unambitious Jay Mandao (Scott Dunn) lives frugally off his late father’s cereal royalties. He wants nothing more than to live in solitude but is duped into taking in his adult nephew-in-law, Jackson (Sean McBride).

As Halloween approaches, Jay begins having odd dreams and comes to find that he has the ability of astral projection. Jay and Jackson are approached by a ghost who has a small window of opportunity to reverse his death at the hands of Jackson’s murderous ex-girlfriend…


Mandao of the Dead is available exclusively on Amazon Instant Video and will be released on  iTunes in February 2019.


Mandao of the Deadis a brilliantly clever and original horror-comedy which also incorporates elements of drama and sci-fi to really make it standout. The excellent script and well thought out story, forms the main basis if the film, but it is the performances and visual delivery which helps the film exceed the budget.” Blazing Minds

Mandao of the Dead is a surprisingly well-made indie horror comedy that has heart and delivers plenty of laughs. Dunn proves with this film that he can excel at any role, whether it be director, writer, or actor. The intricate and humorous story he creates gives viewers something that will keep them entertained from start to finish.” The Blogging Banshee

“While it does have some minor problems, there’s enough to life within here that this one offers up enough to make it watchable without really making for anything more than that. Give it a try if ambitious indie-driven sci-fi/horror comedies are your thing or are curious about it, while those not really into this whole style should heed caution for the most part.” Don’s World of Horror and Exploitation

“Dunn beats the odds and delivers an impressive horror comedy that hurls the classic duo dynamic into ’90s slacker culture” Film Threat

“With a dash of Insidious, and a squeeze of the cheesy 1980s movies where ‘my neighbour is a monster’ , this is a fun ride that would really benefit from slightly more inspired music – overdone tinny shock chords are a turn-off, unfortunately. Sound aside, this looks really good and is clearly made with love and skill.” Horror Talk

Mandao of the Dead knows exactly what it is, and it does it well. It is not trying to be overly ambitious or important, nor should it. For a small, low-budget film, it is unapologetically weird and downright charming at times. If you are a comedic horror fan that doesn’t mind a film that’s heavy on the comedy and light on the horror, you will have a good time with this one.” The Movie Sleuth

“While for the most part the effects are minimal there was a neat effect that played over scenes involving Jay when he was out of body, in fact all these scenes looked really quite good. The budget wasn’t noticeable due to the tight story, and with good chemistry between the actors, a fun world to get a glimpse into, and a chilled ride Mandao of the Dead was an easy film to watch.” The Rotting Zombie

” …a highly original paranormal time travel tale that even if it might little sense if you can’t suspend your disbelief comes across as really thought through for those who can. And on top of that, one can really feel the fascination of the cast and crew for the project to really give it their all, which results in a highly entertaining little film that’s seated firmly between horror and comedy and is above all a fun ride!” Search My Trash

“There is a ton of stuff to love here. The passion and creativity poured into this production really raises the bar. Filmed on a tight budget, this fact is barely visible and when it is, it’s forgotten quickly as the loveable characters bumble their way through a plot that cleverly mixes The Butterfly Effect with a host of other genres.” Starburst

” …an excellent example of taking a solid script and using what’s available to get around budgetary issues. The clever use of footage and lighting to replace effects along with limiting the number of locations saved a lot. But, as noted before, crafting a script that didn’t rely on effects is the film’s strong point.” Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

Scott Dunn … Jay Mandao
Alexandre Chen … Raymond Mandao
Sean Liang … Cousin Andy
Gina Gomez … Fer
Erin Leigh Neumeyer … Mrs Mandao
Marisa Hood … Maeve
Linda Loysen … Maeve’s Mother
Samara Kohne … April
David Gallegos … Darth
Sean McBride … Jackson
Tenoch Gomez … Dj Miguel (voice)
Rosa Ledesma … Lucinda
Max Moreno … Young Jay

Technical credits:

74 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1



MANDAO RETURNS (2020) Reviews and overview of comedy horror sequel

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