All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Director: Jonathan Levine
I first heard about this movie after reading another review of it over on Twins Of Evil. I was intrigued. I had not heard of any of the actors involved, nor had I heard of the director (who has since directed 50/50 and Warm Bodies). The movie had not been released in theaters in the US, and has never been made available for Region 1 DVD. Having hunted down a copy of it and watching it, I can't understand why it wasn't released in the States.
It's your average slasher movie. Teenagers travel out to the country, they party, they get wasted, they get picked off one by one as the night wears on into daylight.
That's right, some of the slasher killings happen during broad daylight. Which doesn't happen often in these kind of movies. There's no flinching away from the violence, but I can honestly say that I've seen far worse.
So why wasn't is given a release date until just recently?
Well, the Weinstein Company sold it to another production company that went bankrupt. Stuff happened. It got picked up by a UK home entertainment label and released on DVD and BluRay, but we poor suckers here in the US got zilch. Until now, when the guys at Dimension Films decided to help those who haven't seen Mandy Lane to get their chance at it.
That's right. Mandy Lane has a new 2013 release date for VOD and a theatrical run. October, 2013 for a limited release in theaters, and September, 2013 on VOD.
But why should you care at all about a movie that was stuck in limbo for seven years? Is it worth it?
I actually think it is. Mandy Lane starts off with an accident that alters a friendship between Mandy (Amber Heard) and Emmet (Michael Welch—the guy who played Mike Newton in the Twilight movies—no, don't run away!). Emmet obviously likes Mandy in ways she doesn't reciprocate. The timeline skips ahead nine months and Mandy has moved on to newer, more popular friends. And, yes, all the boys do love Mandy Lane. She's pretty, she's quiet, she's never been on a date with anyone. So, like every other gross-out teen comedy movie, the main guys in the movie all swear they're going to totally bang Mandy Lane if she joins them on the weekend trip to one a ranch house.
Their conversation makes me uncomfortable and the look Amber Heard gives them all, a little shy and friendly, kind of breaks my heart. She just wants some friends who won't treat her like an object.
And yet, she's surrounding herself with these superficial, mean people who are treating her like an object. As the narrative goes on, you wonder exactly what Anson Mount's character (Garth) does later on in the movie: Why do you hang out with these people?
She's mum about it. She just quietly listens to her "friends" say stupid things to each other, smoke dope, drink too much, and snort prescription drugs. They're all pretty flawed people.
Bird (Edwin Hodge) manages to catch a moment alone with Mandy where he warns her that "they're all trying to get with you." He is less gross about his interest in her. He asks to hold her hand. They walk together for a little ways, and he asks if he can kiss her. Mandy offers up her cheek with a smile, and Bird just kisses her cheek. It's actually a sweet moment. Before anything else can happen, they're interrupted by Garth, the ranch hand, who offers to drive them the rest of the way.
The other characters aren't that important. Just Garth, because Mandy is intrigued by him. She's dared to go ask him to join them all in the main house for drinks and ends up talking to him some more.
Two people go missing during the night. Then another. There's gunfire and one of the girls gives Mandy some kind of pill that makes her drowsy. Morning comes, the last two teens are offed in broad daylight, and we learn the twist. Then there is a twist on the twist.
The film is very pretty to look at. The soundtrack is very pretty to listen to. It's a teen slasher movie that's pretty. The effects are practical and pretty spectacular. But do you know what sold me on it?
The opening title card. Have a look:
The splatter is animated. It looked like the cover of a horror novel I might pick up at the used bookstore. So I kept watching.
And I ended up liking it. It had its fair share of clichés, but I was so taken with Amber Heard's quiet performance and curious about where this was all going that I went with it. For my memory, I'm hard pressed to think of a more recent horror movie where the filmography was so appealing to look at.
Give it a shot on VOD in September, or go see it in theaters in October.
Check out the trailer: