Craig's First Take: "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane"

Photo Credit: RADiUS-TWC

Sometimes you have to wonder how a film managed to escape the dreaded “straight to dvd” label. “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”, a film that’s been making the rounds at festivals and in the UK since 2006 is finally getting its American theatrical release. Could it be because of Jonathan Levine, who’s gone on to a full career with “The Wackness”, cancer comedy “50 50”, and recently “Warm Bodies”? Gotta be. Supposedly this thing has been dividing audiences for seven years, but frankly the only thing that should be divided is the dvd, being broken apart after having to unfortunately sit through it.

It all centers on a group of 5 High School kids, the girls the usual horror movie mix of bitchy, vain, and airheaded and the guys the usual horn-dogs, and the object of most High School boys affections, Mandy Lane (Amber Heard). They’re all going up to a ranch house for a weekend of alcohol, snorting pills, and for the guys, hopefully trying to get into Mandy’s pants. What they don’t count on is a killer who is also infatuated with Mandy.

Levine spares no cliché. He ogles his young cast with the camera (even giving Heard’s skirt-clad butt a close-up), his teen characters exist as hedonistic morons without ever showing us any actual nudity. No one who speaks comes off as likable, while Mandy is meant to be the hero, but some main character she turns out to be since she hardly ever talks and when she does she reveals herself to be one-dimensionally nice.

But if you took out dumb characters and sex-teasing every horror movie would be 6 minutes long. Who cares, how are the thrills? Basically there are none. Levine has shadows rush across the screen and the obvious killer wears a hoodie, but he’s unintimidating from the start, and the gorey head shootings, eye slashings, and stabbings look cheaply constructed and aren’t nearly enough to make this boring villain the least bit terrifying.

Of course I blame Levine most of all for even having to watch this but writer Jacob Forman shouldn’t escape scrutiny either; “way to write a movie that makes even other underwhelming horror movies seem ambitious, idiot”. From the silly twist ending to being another movie that wastes the talents of the gorgeous Amber Heard, “Mandy Lane” is a bore. About the only interesting thing in it is seeing what a pre-“Hell on Wheels” Anson Mount looks like as a beardless ranch hand. Does that sound like fun?