Thursday, September 14, 2017

#2,422. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able

Tag line: "Everyone is dying to be with her. Someone is killing for it"

Trivia: Emmy Rossum was offered the role of Mandy Lane, but turned it down, stating that she did not want to be in a slasher movie

On the surface, director Jonathan Levine’s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has the makings of a fine slasher movie: horny teenagers travel to a secluded location, where their fun-filled weekend of debauchery is interrupted by a maniacal killer whose only goal is to finish the revelers off, one-by-one, in as gruesome a manner as possible. In keeping with tradition, the potential victims in this 2006 horror film are, for the most part, stereotypes: jocks, snobs, druggies, etc., so it’s not surprising that character development wasn’t high on the filmmakers’ priority list.

So why do we spend so much time in the company of these dolts? With All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Levine and his screenwriter, Jacob Forman, take things slowly, waiting until late in the movie to unveil its more horrific elements. Had the teens been even a tiny bit interesting, this strategy could have paid off. But they aren’t, and for at least half the film we’re hanging out with a group of one-dimensional imbeciles and a title character who, though more appealing than the rest, is a total enigma.

Every dude in high school wants to be the first to get with the virginal yet incredibly hot Mandy Lane (Amber Heard). Even Mandy’s best friend Emmet (Michael Welch) harbors feelings for her, and goes to great lengths to keep any potential rivals away from “his girl”. When cheerleader Chloe (Whitney Able) convinces Mandy to join her and Marlin (Melissa Price) on a weekend getaway, the three guys who are also going, Bird (Edwin Hodge), Red (Aaron Himelstein) and Jake (Luke Grimes) make a wager as to which of them will be the first to lure the elusive Mandy Lane into the sack.

Once they arrive at their destination (a ranch owned by Red’s parents), the guys get down to business, flirting openly with Mandy and even convincing her at one point to hop into the lake wearing nothing but her underwear. But unbeknownst to them, someone has crashed their party, and if this uninvited guest has their way, every single one of the teens, Mandy Lane included, will be dead before the weekend is over.

From top to bottom, the gaggle of supporting characters in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane look and act like typical slasher fodder; after stealing a keg of beer from a vendor they run into at a gas station (played by Robert Earl Keen), Jake, Red, and the others make their way to Red’s ranch house, where they spend the first day (and night) skinny-dipping, getting drunk, smoking dope, and trying to get laid. As is the norm with characters such as these, not a one of them is worth a damn.

A few do, however, show some promise, including Garth (Anson Mount), a handyman who lives year-round at the ranch; and even Mandy Lane herself, a gorgeous blonde who keeps her emotions in check, making her that mysterious beauty every guy wants, but none can have. Unfortunately, not even Garth and Mandy are well-defined. We do discover early on that Mandy’s parents died a few years back, and that she’s being raised by her Aunt Jo (Peyton Hayslip). As for Garth, he’s a former marine who saw action in the Persian Gulf, and he’s still reeling from the tragic loss of his beloved wife. But, alas, this is as far as the revelations go, so even the characters we’re supposed to latch onto in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane are a total mystery to us.

The opening sequence, in which Emmet convinces Dylan (Adam Powell), one of Mandy’s more aggressive suitors, to do something he won’t live to regret gets the movie off to a disturbing start; and the film’s kill scenes are, indeed, brutal (one victim has their eyes slashed with a butcher’s knife). And while the killer’s identity is revealed early on, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane does manage to throw a twist in at the end that I wasn’t expecting.

Yet because these characters never evolve, and very little is known about their backstories, this surprise actually raises more questions than it answers. Had the filmmakers given me a reason to care about Mandy and her chums, the movie’s more impressive elements (including the finale) might have been effective. 

But I didn’t care, so in the end, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane proved to be a total waste of my time.

1 comment:

TedSchmosby said...

Hey Dave, it's Graham the Haunted Marshmallow from HMP posting under one of my many aliases.

I have to say, I've always respected and appreciated the way you describe the plot of the movie your discussing for your readers or listeners. It gives off the impression that you truly pay attention to every movie you see and it illustrates your infectious love for the cinema. Also, you're really good at it. I've never met someone whose job it is to write the synopsi of various films for their DVD cases, but someone has to do it, right? I think you'd be great at it. There are some descriptions on Netflix that seem to have been written by someone who learned the plot through a game of telephone.

Anyways, another great post Dave, though I do remember liking this one more than you