YEAR OF RELEASE
Feb 15th 2008 but then delayed July 19th 2009
A guess the killer slash film
A Victim does an oral sex act on a shot gun!
A group of high schoolers invite Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revellers begins to drop quite mysteriously, it seems one of the boys wants Mandy all to herself, but the question is, which one?
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a slasher that comes with a complicated past. For us horror fans in the UK, we watched this a good few years before it was released elsewhere in the world, in fact I was publishing news stories for our American audience that it was finally going to be released in selected cinema’s when the DVD was already in my collection. If my memory serves me right, I believe I had watched this film for the first time in 2007, and yet it didn’t reach an American audience until after 2013. An amazing six years!
Its something that has always baffled me, even when it was released in the UK, I remember many one star reviews and numerous complaints that said “Slow bore!” to “Slasher fans will find no love with this entry”. Even when I sat down and watched for the first time I thought I was in for an awful film, but damn! I remember being stunned at how good this film actually was!
The reason I love it is because it tries to do something different to the slash genre. While others jumped on the Scream bandwagon, Mandy Lane tried its best to offer the fan a new angle to the tried and trusted formula. This film was released in an age where you had to have the tease of “Who is behind the mask” and their motive plot, but Mandy Lane came across like a different beast to what was out there, and even to this day I find it hard to accept the criticism of this film!
The title tells you all you need to know about the plot. Mandy Lane is the hottest girl in school, a pretty teenager with a body to die for who is nice and sweet and virtually keeps herself away from the cliché gangs in school. She is also a virgin, a notion which makes all the horny boys in her class want her more. Of course, being a girl who does not feel the need to be Miss Popular makes her exactly that, as shown with the opening scene of Mandy walking through the school corridor in a John Woo kind of slow mo, while all the boys and girls stare at her all with different thoughts and an agenda. The girls want to be her and the boys want to be IN her, but Mandy doesn’t care for any of it.
This scene alone is the strong point of the film because you have to believe in yourself that Mandy Lane is the most perfect catch. Most of us would have known a girl like this when we were in school. If you lucky, you may have just got a “Hi” and brief smile when your paths crossed in the corridor as she always had this air of untouchable. This scene alone works because Amber Heard is a very pretty actress and not only that but portrays this innocence that the character needs. If say Megan Fox was in the lead role then there be no doubt that the film would fail because Fox brings out a total different sex appeal on screen. From the very beginning you believe that Mandy is this virgin that does not want to follow the crowd and because of that the film establishes an already strong focal character base where you can not help but sympathise with the lead character, because when the killings start, you are on unfamiliar path where you do not know where the film is heading.
Before we even get to the first murderous scene though, the film takes a long time to establish the plot. This is no Scream type slasher film where the killer appears from the off and teases victims with phone calls while lurking in the shadows. Here we have the set up of Mandy and her only friend Emmet (Michael Welch),who are decide to attend to a pool party where all the hot and popular people from the school will be. Emmet is a geek, a boy who probably loves Mandy also but chooses to stay friends than declare his love, but while its Mandy who is invited, she insists that he comes along, a decision that they will both live to regret. Here we see one of the school jocks try to impress Mandy (while being encouraged by Emmet) to jump from the roof of his house into the swimming pool. Unfortunately the poor guy does not quite make it, his head bashing on the concrete below, which results in not only his death but also the end of the friendship between Mandy and Emmet.
The film skips months later and Mandy is now quietly going about her business, with Emmet just watching in the distance and further alienated from the others after the pool-side incident. Then we get to the slash set-up. Jake (Luke Grimes) Red (Aaron Himelstein), Bird (Edwin Hodge), have hired a cottage for the weekend and are desperate to have Lane with them so they can have one last chance of getting a crack at Mandy before school finishes for good. To their surprise, Lane accepts their invitation and alongside Chloe (Whitney Able), Marlin (Melissa Price), the gang head off for a weekend of drinking and hopefully for some of them, thoughts of sex especially with Mandy becoming a strong idea in many of the boy’s minds. On arrival another character enters the fray and one that innocent Mandy strikes an electric sexual bond with the good-looking much older Garth (Ansom Mount), the ground’s caretaker, and the boys themselves see the attraction these two have.
Again the film takes a while to get the slash element going. Its a good time after this set up do we see the first killing, the suspense is not quite up there with the likes of Halloween but it does the job well because first time viewers will not know where and what direction the film is going to go. The Slash cliche hits full flow with the first slay and that is a victim who dies after engaging in a sex act. You know that having sex in a horror is not a good thing and as soon has we we see the deed done its only a matter of time before said satisfied horny character meets their maker.
Its here that the film switches up a gear, the characters being established and now in danger from the evil stranger lurking in the forest. What I love is that here we have a film born after the Scream boom and yet totally ignores the film and its rules and goes back to the basic formula. The good thing about the film is that the guess the killer plot is totally gone out of the window after the third killing. There is no unmasking here, we see who it is and while it is not a shock (you can probably guess from reading this review) you quickly realise the motive and why this person is doing this. This goes back to the roots of Halloween and Friday 13th and for that it makes a refreshing change. The difference in quality between this and say Urban Legend is huge and I would go and far and say that Mandy Lane is a modern classic to the well established genre.
The beauty of the film is that unlike most in this genre, it refuses to fill the screen with lashes of blood. Director Jonathan Levine who also delivered the well received Warm Bodies to the Zombie genre, tries his best to keep the film grounded, to make it as realistic as possible, so that we don’t have a big breasted young girl running up the stairs when she should be running out of the front door. Mandy Lane delivers becomes it feels so refreshing. It has confidence in its story and because of that, it builds up a fantastic sense of tension, and when the slayings do start, it actually feels like a killing and not some sort of cartoon based lunacy that Ghostface suffered from in his later outings.
But even then when you think you know everything and have seen everything, the film offers one last climatic twist that will take your breath away. I had the privilege of watching this again only a few days ago with someone who had never seen it before and when we got to “that” moment, my friend was blown away and it was a joy to watch.
The scene in question is fantastic, a wonderful set up that for me is so underrated and quite possibly one of the finest twists, a film has ever delivered. We see her running, running for help, to the only person she thinks is safe to run too. “Help Me!” she yells, the person beckoning for her to run into their arms and then comes the jaw dropping moment. Its class and brilliant which even now writing this makes my horror juices flow.
All good horrors has a twist in the tail and this is so good that it will make you want to watch it again and when you do you will notice the slight glances, the subtle hints and the way even the opening scene of the pool jump has this very dark edge that contains this evil meaning totally lost on first watch.
Along with that barn storming finale, this slash is one of the most underrated entries in the genre. It offers the typical Stereotypical surroundings and characters but then refuses to play with them in the expected way. Its well acted, brilliantly directed and delivers in the tension stakes…..
The title says All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, and after watching this splendid beauty, I could not help but fall in love with the film myself!:
Jason Rates it….. Two masks out of Three