A 2006 indie thatís garnered a lot of attention because it was never
released in the US. In truth itís a mildly diverting slasher flick with
some striking elements, but not enough.
Why was the Texas lensed ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
never released in the U.S.? As I understand it, the filmís cash strapped
distributor Senator Entertainment shut down its distribution arm before
MANDY LANE, or any of Senatorís other releases (which included the Julia
Roberts vehicle FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN), could be released. Since then
the film has acquired a definite mystique (itís a popular item on the
greymarket circuit) that has little to do with any qualities it might
The director Jonathan Levine has at least gone onto
bigger and better things, including the comedy 50/50 and the upcoming
horror thriller WARM BODIES.
Mandy Lane is a blond high school virgin whoís lusted
after by seemingly all the boys in her school. Foremost among her
admirers is the nerdy Red, who together with five friends, Mandy among
them, heads off for a weekend at a secluded cottage owned by Redís
father. Being complete jerks, the twerps all get into a big fight after
one of the chicks makes fun of the size of a guyís penis. A bit later
that chick is killed when an unseen someone jams the butt of a shotgun
down her throat.
One of the boys, a shithead named Jake, shorts out the
power in an effort to clear the house so he can seduce Mandy. She
rebuffs him and Jake heads outside, where heís shot with the same
shotgun that offed the now-dead girl.
At this point the killer reveals himself as a fellow
high schooler who was severely injured a year earlier in a pool
accident. He was trying to impress Mandy Lane, and remains obsessed with
her, having tracked her every moveÖor so it seems.
Two more members of the group are offed the following
morning, forcing the mousy Mandy to take charge. But then a shocking
twist occurs that throws everything into an entirely new light.
This film, a traditional slasher in most respects, was
shot in that ugly desaturated style thatís so chic these days (itís
supposed to denote gritty reality). Thatís a strike against it, although
director Jonathan Levine demonstrates a fair amount of flair. Note the
assured visual style and the acting, which, surprisingly enough, is
actually fairly strong across the board.
That doesnít change the fact, however, that none of the
characters are sympathetic, including the aloof and self-absorbed Mandy
Lane. Outside the obvious fact that sheís uncommonly good-looking itís
difficult to understand why everybodyís so hot for her.
Regarding the final 15 minutes, in which a twist is
revealed, they do succeed in lifting the proceedings above the formulaic
slasher programmer the film appeared to be. Yes, the twist is
unexpected, but itís also hopelessly implausible, and winds things up on
an open-ended and unsatisfying note, perhaps in anticipation of a sequel
that never arrived.
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
Director: Jonathan Levine
Producers: Felipe Marino, Joe Neurauter, Chad Feehan
Screenplay: Jacob Forman
Cinematography: Darren Genet
Editing: Josh Noyes
Cast: Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Whitney Able, Edwin Hodge, Aaron
Himelstein, Luke Grimes, Melissa Price, Anson Mount, Adam Powell, Peyton
Hayslip, Brooke Bloom, Robert Earl Keen