All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

Jonathan Levine Jonathan Levine
Amber Heard Amber Heard
Anson Mount Anson Mount
Whitney Able Whitney Able
Michael Welch Michael Welch
Edwin Hodge Edwin Hodge

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film, Teen Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: September 09, 2008
The horror genre, and more importantly, the people in charge of distributing the films, is really unfair sometimes. On the one hand, we've got a hack like Ulli Lommel who makes movies that are complete and utter trash, yet he's managed to get not one, not two, not three, but four of his movies released this year alone. Then we've got films like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, films that any horror fan worth his salt is dying to see, and here we are two years after its premiere with no theatrical dates set and a DVD release being at least a year down the road. What makes the situation even sadder is that the film in question has already had a theatrical run and a DVD release everywhere else in the world, but over here in the good ol' USA, nobody can figure out what to do with it. I finally got a chance to check it out, and while I wouldn't go so far as to call it a classic, I will say that it deserves far better than the treatment it has received.

Before the beginning of the film, we're given the impression that Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) was a bit of a plain Jane that never really stood out, but over the summer leading up to her junior year, she "got really fucking hot." As a result, all of the boys have taken a keen interest in her, and she is now considered one of the best prospects in the school: extremely attractive, extremely nice, and best of all, she's never been touched. She eventually abandons her former best friend, a social outcast named Emmet (Michael Welch), in an effort to better fit in with the popular kids, and this leads us to the next act of the film.

It turns out that one of the boys is having a big party out at his father's ranch, and naturally, he invites Mandy to come along. This is to be the big chance that all of the lads have been waiting for - a chance to finally deflower Mandy, if only she'd go along with it. The abundance of booze and drugs should help loosen her up, but before they get a chance to see if their plan will work, a hooded serial killer shows up and starts picking the teens off one by one. Who is it, what do they want, and why have they taken such a keen interest in Mandy? Rounding out the cast of suspects and victims is Chloe (Whitney Able), Bird (Edwin Hodge), Red (Aaron Himelstein), Jake (Luke Grimes), Marlin (Melissa Price), and a strange ranch hand by the name of Garth (Anson Mount).

For the most part, the film is your typical slasher flick - a group of teens head out to a remote location, they break out the drugs and the beers, there's some premarital sex and gratuitous nudity, a couple of red herrings are tossed into the mix, and of course, most of the teens die in grisly yet imaginative ways. Then, a twist is presented which isn't much of a shock for those of you who were paying attention, but this takes the film in a completely different direction - especially once you've discovered the motives involved. I can't say much more than that, but trust me when I say that this actually becomes a fairly deep storyline given the formulaic start.

The bad news is that yes, one of the twists found in this movie is extremely obvious. You'll know where it's going within the first twenty minutes of the film, but thankfully, there's much more to the storyline once that little piece of the puzzle is revealed. In fact, this twist is revealed much earlier in the film than in most releases of this type, which lets the writers have a little fun with it and expand upon the motives and reasons behind it... and that is where the film really shines. I'm being vague here because I don't want to give anything away regardless of how obvious it is once you start watching, but let's just say that the direction this story goes is pretty damned chilling and may explain why the film is having a hard time getting a theatrical run.

Aside from the storyline, one of the biggest perks of the film is the general look of things. I'm not referring to the gore and the kills (though those are damned nice), but to be more specific, the framing of certain shots and the editing techniques used to enhance key scenes of the film. Take, for example, a scene in which a guy is getting killed in the middle of a field: it's your basic murder scene, but it's shown in a wide angle, choppy fashion that looks as though every other frame was removed. It's a trick that's been used in numerous Asian horror releases, but it felt so right here that I just couldn't help but love it.

I also enjoyed how the film took on a timeless quality instead of trying to be "hip" and "current", as aside from a brief glimpse of a cell phone, it's hard to really put a date on the events found in this film. It could easily have been released in the eighties or even the seventies based on the technology and slang (or lack thereof), and this timelessness is one of the things that can transform a great horror film into a classic. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call All the Boys Love Mandy Lane a classic in general, but in the world of slasher films, it's definitely a huge accomplishment that stands head and shoulders above the vast majority of its competition.

Overall, slasher fans will find that it's definitely worth the price of the ticket or the DVD, as the film is truly the perfect blend of minimalism and innovation. Those of you who just want to see some teens get hacked to pieces will have a blast, and those of you looking for a little more meat to go along with your experience will walk away satisfied as well. Movie of the year? That's doubtful, but it certainly ranks pretty high up there. 9/10.
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Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 09/09/2008, 09:06 PM
Pfft, not me.
cky2kendall #2: cky2kendall - added 10/02/2008, 10:09 AM
For a slasher movie, I liked it. There's some really interesting direction, and Mandy always comes off as mysterious. The kills are also really good too, nice and fun to watch. 8/10.
grain of sand #3: grain of sand - added 10/09/2008, 12:33 AM
Definitely a decent and pretty unique entry into the slasher genre. It was fun.. The overall look and feeling was cool, the music and lighting really complimented it all.. Kills could have been better in my opinion..

bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 10/13/2008, 04:03 PM
Nothing special. There was so much hype about this film, and it was no different and no better than every other teen slasher film that's been out there, except maybe for the opening sequence. Just so-so for me. I don't know what all the hoopla has been about this film not receiving a U.S. release thus far. I see why. It's not better than a lot of those direct-to-DVD releases. 6/10.
Chad #5: Chad - added 10/13/2008, 05:04 PM
Wow, really? Look at the cinematography and some of the amazing shots they pulled off - that alone elevates it above a vast majority of the DTV slashers. Let's see... the twist is both great and realistic (I wouldn't be surprised to hear about this sort of thing happening in the real world), the kills are damned nice, and for a slasher flick, the acting was better than expected. I wouldn't rank it alongside Halloween or any of the other slasher classics, but it's a hell of a lot better than most films in this genre from recent years.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 10/13/2008, 09:18 PM
Yeah...not so much for me. Overcooked and overdone. Nothing special. I hate horror films that try too damned hard to be something they're not. This one did just that.
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 10/13/2008, 09:19 PM
The ending sort of reminded me of Scream, even before I knew what the final twist was. I mean the "final" final twist. Anyway, I thought this was very well done. It was shot well, tasteful, well acted....and a huge step up from your typical DTV slasher. It was a lot of fun, and I was very impressed by it.

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