All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a little slasher film that was made in 2006, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to decent critical and fan acclaim, then quickly shelved for many years until it found it's way on the video market this past year, for reasons I'm not entirely clear on. Although after watching it, I can only guess that it's because it was quite frankly, not very good - something made all too apparent after just 15 minutes in.
I've heard of this film mentioned randomly on horror sites, most of them negative, and if I remember correctly, a horror blogger and film reviewer that I follow actually came to it's defense. I could be wrong though, because that was a while ago. But I feel like that's what happened. Anyway, I'll give the film a little credit, it's "not" a lazy hand-held quick-edit mess. To it's credit, the film itself looks rather nice, keeping an impressive visual tone for such a small film and that's all thanks to first time director Jonathan Levine, who would move onto more critical fare such as 50/50 and Warm Bodies. But what the film is sorely missing is any creative juice, decent casting, structure, and an original thought. Let me elaborate.
I think for the most part, this is supposed to be a slasher film. At least, it's set up that way. Group of annoying horny teenagers set out to a farm to party for the weekend with pretty much everyone's intent is to get inside Mandy Lane's pants. You see, for some strange reason, she's the cream of the crop and the hottest girl in school. Every guy wants her, and she knows this. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why. She's just about the dullest, most uninteresting girl I've ever seen, yet every guy is competing to win her affections. So she's invited to join this weekend of fun on a farm with a bunch of other idiots who she has nothing in common with. And you keep asking yourself, "why is she there?" "She couldn't look anymore bored and uninterested if she tried". And it's true. You wonder what possessed her to accept the invitation in the first place because she sure as hell looks like she's got better things to do than "not" be smoking, drinking and having sex like everyone else is. But to each their own.
This group of kids man. I'm not sure if it was the casting, or just the dreadful script, but these teenagers are probably the most unlikable cast of horny teenagers I've ever seen grace the screen in a slasher film. I disliked them so much that I just couldn't wait for them to start getting knocked off one by one. Unfortunately, that time doesn't come soon enough, and when it does finally happen, it's entirely uneventful and you honestly couldn't care less anymore because the pace and structure of this film is such a mess that it drags on and on and on with absolutely "nothing" of interest happening for most of the first 2 acts of the film that in all honesty, I was just bored out of my mind. I think the only reason I stuck it out was to see how it finally ended, but by the time I had made up my mind that this movie sucked.
If you've read anything about this film, it's either that it stars Amber Heard, before she hit it big in films like The Ward and Drive Angry, and for it's twist ending. Now as far as the slasher aspect of the film goes, you pretty much figure out who the killer is early on because, well it's just painfully obvious. Though they do make somewhat of an effort to steer you in another direction, you're not swayed for too long. They let you in on who the killer is at the halfway mark and depending on your tolerance, that will either annoy the shit out of you or you just won't care by that point. But that's not the big surprise, that comes later and while I honestly didn't see it coming, it only offered a ho-hum kind of a response from me because again, by the end I just didn't care anymore.
As I write this, I did some digging for some reviews on this out of curiosity, and I'm quite frankly shocked at how much love this film has, despite it's lackluster rating on almost every rating site like Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and Metacritic. Though the majority of the reviews are negative, there are a few out there, most notably Scott Weinberg's, who basically praised the film from start to finish. I don't know, I feel like we must have seen two completely different movies because all the things he loved about it, were the reasons I hated it. I did not see a "homage" to 80's slasher films, nor a "strong" supporting cast, or a "true-blue" horror film. The film I saw a lazy, uneven, uninspired bore that has to rely on a twist ending to make it memorable.
It's a beautifully shot film, so I'll give credit where credit is due, which in this case goes to director Jonathan Levine. Jacob Forman's script however, doesn't try to do anything other than remind you that there are better horror films out there and when you mix in the obnoxious stereotype casting, lame kills, and take all the suspense out by showing us the killer early on - too early for my taste - then what you've got is a lackluster attempt at making a modern day slasher film.