Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Jacob Forman
Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able
A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to drop quite mysteriously.
After drifting in horror limbo for the last seven years, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is finally available on DVD and VOD. Levine and Forman, along with a great high school cast, proves that even clichés can be a breath of fresh air in the right hands. Mandy Lane is possibly the most aloof high school kid of all time. Mandy comes from a family life befitting a horror protagonist and it’s clear that something about Mandy is much different from her Adderall snorting friends. Her early shots inside the high school are kinda creepy when you think about it. Guys and girls freeze when Mandy walks by. She’s way too hot to walk in regular speed, so slow motion captures her breathtaking beauty as mouths and Trapper Keepers drop in her presence. If the film wants us to know anything, it’s that Mandy is super, super, super hot – and everyone knows it. Super hot.
The film feels earnest and familiar. The way the kids interact, the places they go, the things they do, they all feel a little like Dazed & Confused. The dialogue is believable, the lessons are universal (most of them), and the characters feel right. When the gang arrives at the rich kids’ desolated family ranch, all bets are on Mandy. Every guy there is eerily aware of her beauty and they all want to get with her. Some are more blatant than others. I spent the first 30 minutes wondering if this was destined to be a film about a bunch of kids that rape the hot girl. The circumstances are ripe for horror and you’ll spend a large chunk of time trying to decide which horror cliché this is spinning towards.
When the blood begins to flow, you might easily guess who’s responsible – it only makes sense – but, the remaining twists took me by surprise. The clichés are many and the film has so many opportunities to fumble, but this almost unknown juggernaut doesn’t slow down or waiver when it counts. Levine’s dreamy and melancholy direction turns this genre piece into something unique and rewarding – no small feat for slasher-vibe horror flicks. Heard is fantastic as the lead; the only one of her peers not engaging in sex, heavy drug use, or destructive behavior. Remember the rules of horror Scream established, then throw them out the window as you begin your coming of age with beautiful Mandy.
clichés be damned, this is one of the best horror films to emerge in 2013. This falls somewhere in my top five for the year thus far. I laughed, I cringed, I paused it when Heard’s swimming scenes occurred – shut up – so will you. Even my wife was like “Damn, Amber Heard.” This is a keeper, something kind of rare in my opinion. It has the charm many of its contemporaries can’t posses. The soundtrack and beautiful cinematography appealed to my movie snob sensibilities, guaranteeing my eventual buy. Go in blind and wait for the trauma. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane – myself included.