Review: All The Boys Love Mandy Lane
The delectable high schooler Mandy Lane, a blonde bombshell that is the target of every boy’s affection, among other things, takes to a weekend at a farm with friends. Drugs, alcohol, and some male rivalry make up the party, but an uninvited guest seeks bloody vengeance on the group.
Amber Heard is the desired Mandy Lane: quiet, curious, and innocent, though not too innocent. There are many young male suitors and a couple of girls who are nowhere near as pure as Mandy, but what do they really matter?
Sitting on the shelves since 2006, this slasher horror starring a very young Amber Heard is stylish, hip, and atmospheric enough to be entertaining and make up for any shortcomings. An especially eerie opening gives way to a more formulaic horror, and though perhaps not refreshing or novel, it’s well-executed – and didn’t need to be sitting on the shelves for so long.
I suppose though there may be novelty in seeing a far younger Amber Heard staring a bloody horror, not unlike the way in which it was fun to watch Chris Hemsworth in Cabin in the Woods, another flick idling for years.
Nevertheless, Heard is the titular heroine, a girl who seems ever so subtly in control. She seldom speaks up but can hold her own against boys. She is sexual without being aggressive, aware of her beauty and power without wielding it. She is pure, but not so pure, and director Joanthan Levine’s light-infused camera isn’t afraid to close in on her.
It’s the direction, the hip soundtrack, and the air of unpredictability that keeps the attention in a story that is rather generic. This is all very present in a prologue that finds Mandy’s awkward friend, a boy who of course wants to be more than friends, face off against a jock who doesn’t want Mandy’s friendship – just her body.
Tragedy ensues, and flashing forward nine months later to the end of the school year, a small soiree awaits a farm house for Mandy, a pair of girlfriends, and three guys who all want to be the first with Mandy.
There are two surprises: the first is that the family farmhouse has a tender, a strapping, handsome country figure by the name of Garth, by whom the boys are intimidating and the girls swoon. The second is less unexpected to the viewer, as a killer lurks in the darkness, but the kids take some time to clue in – they are pretty drunk, stoned, and sex-starved after all.
Bloodshed ensues, teens fight to survive and some die horribly, but of course all you end up caring about, and the only thing you should care about, is Mandy and her fate.
Should You See It?
A genre film about teens in love and lust, many of whom are picked off by a murderous lunatic, it delivers on its simple promise with some welcome sights and sounds. So if gore, provocation, and leggy girls are your thing…