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All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

January 8, 2014

all the boys love mandy lane movie poster

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane tells the story of six teenagers, a secluded ranch and eventual murder. It blends the art house vibe with raucous teenagers and adds another solid entry to the horror cannon. The Austin, Texas locale is used to full effect as the scenery becomes part of the story. Mandy Lane feels like Friday Night Lights meets a 70s Slasher pic.

The movie screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006 then disappeared till its reappearance in 2013. Director Jonathan Levine had this to say about the cult following and expectations that has built around the film:

They’re either going to think it’s a bad movie, or it’s going to take on this urban legend status of this amazing cult thing that has never seen the light of day.  The burden of expectations, good and bad, are placed upon it,and that’s slightly strange.

Forget the hype, mystery and expectations. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a neat entry into the horror canon. It plays with expectations, gives us something different and most importantly stays mysterious. Much like the title character the film forgoes lengthy explanations and leaves things to the imagination. There are clues in the subtext and throwaway comments that tell us everything we need to know.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane excels with its teenage characters. On the surface I can see how they would be consider stock horror fodder. However, they are the right amount of vapid, dumb, drunk, horny, confused, unsupervised, drunk, entitled and believably teenaged. It is easy to understand why these “popular” kids are attracted to Mandy. Also, the older ranch hand defies expectations as he acts his age and is the only one who treats Mandy like an actual person.

Director Jonathan Levine has excelled at making drug dealing (The Wackness), cancer (50/50) and zombie love (Warm Bodies) relatable. His characters are three dimensional wonders of likability. For instance, Anna Kendrick is naive yet smart in 50/50. Also, Rob Corddry is the world’s greatest zombie friend in Warm Bodies. Levine finds ways to get the best out his cast and that is evident in Mandy Lane.

Levine uses Amber Heard in ways most directors have failed. She is eye candy that fits the plot and not just eye candy. In the film she is beautiful and pure enough to enchant an entire high school. However, nobody knows anything about her because they only care about her body and aura. The teenage male gaze is in full effect as this attractive loner spends the weekend with them. She has been built up in the minds of these kids and they are used to getting what they want.

All the boys love mandy lane heard

Mandy Lane was never meant for the mainstream or blood thirsty gore hounds. It is a genre piece that defies expectations yet is sorta predictable. It is a throwback to the grungy seventies when movies felt dirty and had a message (sometimes). Don’t worry about the expectations. Appreciate a horror film that tries something different and was a springboard for a talented director.

All the boys love mandy lane Amber Heard

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2014 12:39 pm

    Good review. While I could definitely tell what it was that this movie was trying to do early-on, it didn’t quite work. In fact, it just felt like a re-tread of any other teen-horror, slasher-flick we’ve ever seen done before. The only difference here is that it’s considered “hip”, I guess.


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