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Overall Rating
3.33

Awesome: 22.22%
Worth A Look37.78%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 17.78%
Total Crap: 15.56%

5 reviews, 15 user ratings


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All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Don't get your hopes up, horror fans."
2 stars

The retro slasher film "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" has become semi-notorious for its non-release status it keeps getting pushed back (it first reared its head at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006). Horror fans keep hearing about it, keep yearning to see it. As I understand it, the distributor, Senator Entertainment, is sitting on the flick until they can make a stronger debut with a Julia Roberts vehicle. The true reason may be more banal and discouraging: the movie isn't very good.

A first effort by director Jonathan Levine (whose sophomore film The Wackness found its way into U.S. theaters first), Mandy Lane follows the standard drunk-teens-in-the-boonies slasher template. Seven kids, including the eponymous Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), head out to a remote ranch, guarded over by a brooding Gulf War vet. After more toking, drinking, Ritalin-snorting, Truth-or-Dare-playing, and general sexual tension than I generally cared to sit through, the killings begin. Who's the slasher? Well, that doesn't remain a secret for very long though the script (a first by Jacob Forman) tacks on a twist anyway.

For the most part, I had trouble telling the kids apart: close your eyes and they all sound and act pretty much the same, except perfect Mandy Lane, a level-headed Nice Girl who's the obvious perhaps too obvious Final Girl, the virgin who waves off intoxicants and intoxicated boys. All the boys love Mandy Lane, and all the girls envy her but not enough to hate her. The trouble is that Mandy Lane is a blank, and her final scenes aren't built towards or prepared for in any way. I felt cheated and annoyed; we're left with a rather dull meat-and-potatoes slasher film front-loaded with lots of tedium where character development used to go much like a similar (though much more sadistic) film that did see release, 2005's Wolf Creek.

Technically, the movie is acceptable. The young actors seem natural; it's difficult to tell whether Amber Heard can act, given what little she has to work with here, but she's likable enough. Levine achieves a couple of wince-worthy moments, though once the killer is revealed the suspense drains out of the film rapidly. Slasher movies used to have a little more imagination, even if the elaborate motives and laughable red herrings were a bit much. The prologue, detailing a tragedy at a pool party, turns out not to have very much to do with what follows ... or, well, it does, sort of. The motives here are vague and highly arguable the film will probably inspire much post-movie dissection, but what's going to be dissected is essentially screenwriting laziness.

What we have here is a movie that seems unaware of its own subtext horny guys buzzing around the title character, literally like moths to the flame. "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" could've found much more interesting things to do with this basic premise, things that could've turned the whole subgenre on its head. Instead it stays pretentiously artsy like so much indie horror, it seems intended as a calling card for young filmmakers rather than a true work of fear emerging from specific terrors and obsessions and it comes to a wishy-washy, meaningless conclusion. To be honest, this can stay unreleased for all I care.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14897&reviewer=416
originally posted: 08/27/08 12:58:58
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2006 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2008 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Chicago Critics Film Festival For more in the 1st Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Stanley Film Festival For more in the 2013 Stanley Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/03/14 vezpspy USA 3 stars
7/24/13 Molly I enjoyed it quite thoroughly. I liked the way it was filmed especially. 4 stars
11/21/10 Ryan One Of The Best Slasher Horrors I Have Ever Seen! It's Smart, It's Funny, It's Brilliant! 5 stars
7/20/09 Kazelwws Hi webmaster! lpy 4 stars
3/13/09 vxtq OK, but nothing to write home about. It takes to long to go anywhere 3 stars
2/22/09 Harold Parker This movie sucked ! Don't waste your time and money. Horribly shot. 1 stars
2/12/09 MP Bartley Dull for most parts. The ending is interesting but silly when you think too hard about it. 2 stars
2/11/09 DK Well made, well shot and with more intelligence than average slasher 4 stars
9/12/08 DW Smith And I was so looking forward to it. 3 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman Meh - below average teen horror junk. 2 stars
7/12/08 Laura Lots of fun.....smart too! 5 stars
10/01/06 duder saw in toronto at the fest. loved it. 4 stars
9/15/06 Emmet It f-ing killed. awesome. 5 stars
9/14/06 Carl Smart, funny and scary! Best slasher flick since Scream. 5 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell A must see movie spectacular 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Oct-2013 (R)
  DVD: 03-Dec-2013

UK
  15-Feb-2008 (18)

Australia
  05-Mar-2009 (MA)


Directed by
  Jonathan Levine

Written by
  Jacob Forman

Cast
  Amber Heard
  Anson Mount
  Michael Welch
  Aaron Himelstein
  Edwin Hodge
  Whitney Able



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