All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

Directed By: Jonathan Levine
Written By: Jacob Forman
Starring: Amber Heard
  Anson Mount
  Whitney Able
  Michael Welch
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

You know the drill, a group of high school students go somewhere to do stuff they shouldn’t be doing while an unknown attacker picks them off in various ways. It has been a staple of the genre since it began, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in the foreseeable future. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane uses this tried and tested formula to off some teens without even so much of a hint of originality, instead proclaiming itself to be an homage piece to 80’s slasher films.

It looks pretty special in parts, fledging director Jonathan Levine clearly has a good cinematic eye and I fully expect him to come into his own a few more films down the line. The opening section, in which Mandy’s best friend convinces a jock to jump off a roof and crack open his skull, was expertly shot and had me tuned in to what I thought would be an interesting look at the nature of popular with some blood chucked in for kicks. I quickly tuned out though, after it became clear that the best character had been sidelined in favour of slutty school kids and the boys that love them.

I’m not sure if it was the director’s intention to make the characters so unlikeable that it simply isn’t enough to wait for them to die, you actively want to smash the screen and use the broken shards as a makeshift blade to bury deep into their smug, preppy faces. They literally serve no purpose other than to get killed. Even that isn’t very satisfying because for two of the victims, the killer uses a gun. Guns may be quick and easy, a gun may even offer you a safe range from which to pluck off your enemies and allow you to escape easily. That being said, a gun has no place in a slasher flick. To put in a gun in a slasher movie effectively removes the slash element. Meaning it would be an ER flick, and besides a mostly unemployed cast of doctors, nobody wants to see that.

The fleeting scenes of gore are stark and a few of them even hit me in the “ooh” spot (machete to the eyes, for example) but on the whole they seem to be lacking in substance. The violence we see generally isn’t strong enough to reinforce the perceived violence off screen meaning these kids are dying far too easily for slasher money.

The twist is nothing short of a ridiculous add-on, designed to get tongues wagging, and no attempt is made to explain the actions of either the killer or the killer’s apprentice which left me with the distinct feeling that I had been cheated. I don’t even see the point in throwing a pointless, tacked-on twist into any old horror flick, and in the case of this movie it really cheapens the whole affair.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a competently shot teen horror with a couple of decent deaths, but ultimately devoid of any depth, originality and tension. The identity of the villain is as predictable as the clunky dialogue and just as useless. That being said, the cast of relative unknowns do their best with the material and generally do pretty well. The movie isn’t bad, just dull and formulaic with no one to keep an eye on characterisation, causing the whole thing to descend into a flabby, boring mess.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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