Thursday, October 10, 2013

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2013)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers**

First, there’s an interesting backstory for this film. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was on the shelf for over six years. The film was completed in 2006, and ATLBLML premiered at various film festivals in 2006 and 2007. The Weinstein Company bought the rights to ATBLML, but they didn’t know what to do with it, so they sold the rights to Senator Entertainment, a company that eventually went bankrupt. Earlier this year, The Weinstein Company reacquired the rights to ATBLML. The film received various VOD releases in September, and tomorrow, ATBLML hits theaters for a limited release. Now, on to the review! 

During one hot summer in Texas, Chloe (Whitney Able) invites Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) to a weekend vacation at Red’s (Aaron Himelstein) ranch. At the ranch, Mandy leaves the troubles of high school life behind her with Chloe, Red, Jake (Luke Grimes), Bird (Edwin Hodge), and Marlin (Melissa Price).

Mandy ignores her long-time best friend, Emmet’s (Michael Welch) attempts to explain himself after a tragedy, but Mandy will have to worry about bigger problems at the ranch. The ranch hand, Garth (Anson Mount) won’t tolerate any tomfoolery, but Garth and everyone else left on the ranch suspect something fishy after a string of mysterious disappearances…….

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a frustrating film for a number of reasons. First of all, don’t let the mysterious ambiguity of the trailer fool you: Mandy Lane barely rises above average quality for any run-of-the-mill slasher flick. With the obvious foreshadowing, you’ll be know the identity of the killer, instantly.

The characters? Yeah, Mandy Lane is loaded with the typical bunch in a teen slasher film: the airheaded blonde, who falls down a lot while running (Chloe), the jock (Bird), that one guy, who’s a dick to everyone (Jake), and that one person, who’s not the sharpest tool in the shed (Marlin). Of course, Mandy breaks the mold, as the innocent and beautiful blonde, who doesn’t crack under peer pressure. Mandy is uncorrupted for the most part, but the direction for her character takes a surprising turn towards the end (more on that later).

The story? Well, it bored me to tears, until the finale rolled around. Red, Bird, and Jake compete against one another for the honor of being the first one to have sex with Mandy. Sorry, but watching a bunch of horny male teenagers fight over and stab each other in the back for Mandy didn’t do anything for me.

The cinematography is gorgeous, and director Johnathan Levine provides some great shots of an empty countryside. Still, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane could’ve been so much more. With Mandy Lane, you had the perfect character to take a chance on doing something different. Instead, you’ll have to sit through another slasher flick, where some creepy weirdo stalks a bunch of unsuspecting victims in a house.

On top of that, ATBLML is loaded with clichéd slasher characters, overall the gore and blood isn’t shocking or grotesque, the entire cast is average at best (yes, that includes Heard), and ATBLML features one too many stupid “Why would you do that?” moments.

Yeah, the twists are great, but without them, ATBLML is another random and forgettable slasher. I wouldn’t be surprised if ATBLML developed a cult-classic fan following over the years, and despite all my complaints, I actually enjoyed the movie. I appreciated  the effort to take a “throwback to Grindhouse films” approach, but ATBLML isn’t a groundbreaking horror film, and it won’t change the landscape in the slasher genre, so don‘t get your hopes up too high for this one. And it’s a damn shame, because ATBLML had the potential  to be that one film.

Rating: 6/10

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