I think that it’s safe to say that every school has one girl who all the guys drool over. She’s got the long hair, the pretty smile, the perfect body and she’s everything a guy could ever want. Add on the fact that she is pure and guys will give an arm and a leg to have this girl. Guys are willing to do whatever it takes to get a shot with her and it’s almost ridiculous to see the lengths they’ll go to. The only question is, are they willing to die for her?
Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is the ideal girl. She’s the talk of the school and every guy yearns for a chance to get with her. The only problem, is that she won’t have any of them. Her best friend, Emmet (Michael Welch) is the closest boy to her and after a freak accident, becomes the most distant boy from her. Now, Mandy associates herself with a sexually fueled and oddly named group of friends who befriend her for all the wrong reasons. That group includes: Jake (Luke Grimes) the jock, Bird (Edwin Hodge) the other jock, Red (Aaron Himelstein) the guy with a farmhouse, Chloe (Whitney Able) the popular girl, and Marlin (Melissa Price) the popular girl’s friend.
One weekend, the gang all decides to go spend the weekend at Red’s farmhouse while his parents are out-of-town. The only other person there is Garth (Anson Mount) the farm hand, but he’s supposedly “cool”. The weekend festivities include swimming, drinking, shooting and trying to score with Mandy Lane. Everyone is going to get some and the hope is that someone will get Mandy. However, during their stay, a crazy figure stalks the teenagers in the night. As fear overcomes the group, they are slowly picked off one by one. Who could be behind this? Does this figure also want to get with Mandy Lane? What is so special about her?
What is special about this movie, is the fact that it’s been sitting on a shelf for the last seven years. Set to release in 2006, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was going to be actress Amber Heard’s big debut, and the bid debut of director Jonathan Levine. Since 2006, Levine has put out 50/50 and Warm Bodies, both which received some high praise. It’s unfortunate that this film didn’t get a wide release in 2006, because it’s actually quite good for what it is. The film embraces the stupid and horny teenager stereotype and plays with it very well.
What I loved most about this film was its depiction of how hormonal teenagers act. Not only was it funny, but it was also a mostly accurate portrayal. The jock guys are obsessed with cheerleaders and the amount of girls that they can sleep with in High School. They love that Mandy Lane is pure, because they want to be the ones to turn her wild. The nerdy kid is also obsessed with Mandy and is pure as well. Of course, he gets crap from the jocks because they believe that they stand a better chance with her. Then, you’ve got the prissy teenage girls who think that they run the school, who are very upset that the guys they like, like Mandy Lane. There’s clearly a lot of teenage angst in this film and how can you blame everyone? Amber Heard is simply gorgeous.
The style of direction and the progression of this film works on every level. There are many stylistic shots and the director never lets you see anything to explicit, rather, he lets your imagination create what you’re missing. The editing is sharp and is used wisely, as scenes blend together and keep you guessing. While they may reveal some things in the middle of the movie, you’re still left guessing people’s motives and trying to decipher what in the world is going on. Jonathan Levine has started off well and has three pretty great films now. I’d watch for him in the coming years, because he’s got something special.
As most horror movies do, this film does fall into some familiar patterns. Be it a plot twist, a cliché, or classic explicit scenes, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane doesn’t come off as completely original. Some of the characters are archetypes and make stupid decisions for no particular reason. Alongside that, is the fact that these teenagers may be TOO hormonal. It’s one thing to set your sights on one girl, but if you’re going to, don’t be hooking up with literally every other girl around you. There are only three girls in the movie and two of them hook-up with practically every male member of the cast. It’s those moments that made this movie a bit unbelievable, but then again, I’m sure there are guys and girls out there like that.
While All The Boys Love Mandy Lane may not be the most original horror film, it’s certainly better than most of the crap that gets made. Once you make it past some of the typical horror genre beats, there is a fun and unique story at hand. The acting is great all around and the direction is what stands out the most. It’s a shame that this movie wasn’t given a chance until now, but I’m glad it’s still getting one. I would call this movie more of a suspense/psychological horror film, but it’s a bloody good time that will be sure to entertain just about everybody!
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane Trailer