All the Boys Love Mandy Lane had the potential to be something special and transcend the horror genre but instead it was a bit of a bore and showed why it merely made its way around the film festival circuit, never landing a distribution deal. However, and acknowledging it isn’t her best work, Amber Heard is the highlight in an otherwise forgettable film.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Horror, Drama
Anchor Bay | R – 90 min. – $29.99 | December 3, 2013
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
** Note: This review contains major spoilers concerning the plot, so please skip this section if you don’t want to know the details… **
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has been sitting on the shelf for many years, though apparently aired on pay cable nearly 4 years ago, without a distributor to even see a limited theatrical release. Now close to 7 years since it was filmed (around 2006), Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company have taken the plunge and finally released this suspense-horror film so many years later… and it’s easy to see why it had such a hard time finding a distributor.
Over the course of a summer, Mandy Lane (AMBER HEARD) has grown up a lot and going into her junior year in high school, all the boys – and girls for that matter – have taken notice of her, ahem, “features”. She’s best friends with Emmet (MICHAEL WELCH) but with her new-found good looks, she’s captured the attention of a jock and is invited over for a pool party, though she insists on Emmet tagging along. This results in a horrible accident after said jock, with some encouragement from Emmet, to jump off a roof to the pool but misjudges, cracks his head open and dies.
Fast forward nine months later and the dynamic between Mandy and Emmet have changed as the two aren’t apparently the best of friends, much to his displeasure, and she has joined the popular clique and has established a reputation of being pure (i.e. a virgin) and now, you guessed it, all the boys want her.
With this in mind, Mandy is invited for a weekend on a vast ranch owned by the father of a pothead named Red (AARON HIMELSTEIN) along with a few other friends: jackass Jake (LUKE GRIMES), beautiful yet bitchy blonde Chloe (WHITNEY ABLE), token and sensitive black guy Bird (EDWIN HODGE) and self-conscience chick Marlin (MELISSA PRICE). Also on the ranch is groundskeeper, and ex-military guy, Garth (ANSON MOUNT). If all the boys want Mandy, all the ladies make their intentions known that they want Garth including Chloe appearing naked from her bedroom window for him to see. Yeah, we needed some nudity in here, not that I’m complaining.
Director Jonathan Levine attempts to ratchet up the atmosphere with some ill-placed score cues and instead of tension we get some downright boredom especially considering a few of these characters are completely and utterly vapid and the others come across as tools, and once the action (i.e. killings begin), this only proves more true. The film then goes from teen horniness gone awry, as all teen horniness tends to do, into horror/slasher as a briefly unknown assailant begin cutting down each of them one by one; though gruesome, it never rises to anything scary.
It’s revealed relatively early, as if it wasn’t easy enough to guess anyway, that it is Emmet doing the killings as part of revenge for stealing away his once best friend. This aspect should’ve been chilling, considering it’s not out of the realm of reality, but turns into something of a mess in terms of execution (no pun intended) as it all was kind of dull. That being said, the ending does manage to bring some semblance of life to the plot, though it’s too little, too late by that point.
As a fan of Amber Heard, read my review of Syrup, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is hardly a highlight for what will hopefully be a fledgling career. Her performance was alright and I guess she succeeds in being the seductive vixen all these teen boys have to have, but the screenplay doesn’t do her any favors and neither does the cast, save perhaps for Anson Mount. The supporting cast I suppose do their best with playing big ole’ douches for Red and Jake, and scanks for Chloe and Marlin, but each of the respective actor’s performances weren’t very good despite the best of intentions and limited opportunities.
As mentioned, the film was helmed by Levine who most recently gained some notoriety for directing the Gordon-Levitt/Rogen drama-comedy 50/50 (a touching and brilliant film) and the vampire horror-comedy Warm Bodies (surprisingly well done), so it’s not surprising one of Levine’s first efforts might not have been a homerun, but Mandy Lane does have its moments, albeit they are far and few between.
First shown at a couple festivals back in 2006, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane could not get a distributor and either sat at on a shelf for years before getting shown on pay cable a couple years later and eventually a limited theatrical release in October (before which it was available On Demand). It’s no wonder why it didn’t catch on, but as I said, the film isn’t all bad and despite this not being her finest work, it might be worth a look for Amber Heard.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
The only feature is an Audio Commentary with director Jonathan Levine.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Anchor Bay releases All the Boys Love Mandy Lane onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Because the movie is at times highly stylized, it doesn’t lend itself to being the most pretty looking picture. The detail levels are OK and colors, when not purposely out of whack in flashes, drift towards more grays than anything bright, this is established with the opening shot and continues on whether it’s daylight or not. Still, it’s a fine transfer just nothing eye-popping.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track similarly isn’t anything special. Vocals are strong coming from the center channel though due to on-set issues, can at times top out. Outside of the dialogue, the occasional gunfire and/or screams are soft while Mark Schulz’s score does make the most out of the rear channels. I have to admit to being disappointed especially after when the title came on along with a scream which was absolutely deafening (in a good way), but nothing in the film ever came close to matching it.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane had the potential to be something special and transcend the horror genre but instead it was a bit of a bore and showed why it merely made its way around the film festival circuit, never landing a distribution deal. However, and acknowledging it isn’t her best work, Amber Heard is the highlight in an otherwise forgettable film. The Blu-ray released by Anchor Bay only offers an audio commentary but the audio/video transfers aren’t bad.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.