Written by: Matt Molgaard
Every now and then we’re gifted a good, entertaining slasher that proves creepy and memorable, but it’s also got that ambiguous “it” factor that totally distances it from other similar efforts. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane serves as one of those rarities in today’s market. The problem is, cinematic limbo killed the film’s early power pulse (the movie was shot eight years ago, and sat on the shelf until 2013), and now that the movie has finally been released to the public, it’s been terribly, terribly neglected. The fact of the matter is, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is one of the few teenie bopper flicks that warranted wide release. This should have hit 2,500 theaters across the US, instead it crept onto home video and snaked its way into Redbox and Netflix lineups without so much as a peep.
Too bad, really. In 10 years, fans are going to look back on All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and declare it an engaging piece of horror that provides repeated thrills and commands numerous viewings. You can take that prediction to the bank.
The story focuses – quite obviously – on Mandy Lane, a quiet, somewhat introverted teen who happens to really blossom between sophomore and junior year of high school. When 11th grade arrives all the boys suddenly take notice, and deflowering the shy teen (played by a still quite young Amber Heard, by the way) becomes the objective of all those in possession of an overactive libido. A year end party on a secluded ranch seems the perfect setup to see Mandy lose the Big V, but the boys, and the girls for that matter, begin running into an unknown psychopath who doesn’t mind extinguishing life. Can Ms. Lane survive the night? That’s a question that produces an answer that may yield some surprises.
The onscreen performances are sound, with a few players really excelling (Heard, Whitney Able, Aaron Himelstein and Luke Grimes shine bright), the cinematography is clean, polished and even somewhat innovative in moments. There’s an awesome twist awaiting viewers in the waning moments of the film, and while I really admired the (successful, in my opinion) attempt to deliver shocks, the true defining quality of the picture overall is the juxtaposition of the visuals and the unbelievably mesmerizing soundtrack. This is one of those unusual pieces that combines audio and video perfectly. Sometimes a soundtrack can work as something of a character itself in film. Scream 2 was an excellent example of an empowering soundtrack – All the Boys Love Mandy Lane rivals that example.
If you happen to be one of the many that missed this treasure, look into it. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is exciting, boasts character depth (despite the fact that every teen on film seems to have the same goals in mind: sleep with Mandy Lane and get as intoxicated as possible), a shock or two and a fantastic sense of self-awareness – going way over board in key sequences (it is completely preposterous how infatuated these kids are with Mandy, and uber-talented director Jonathan Levine uses subtle tricks to let the crowd at home know he’s fully conscious of that fact), allowing the audience to identify that, and subsequently heading right back into pitch black territory. To be blunt: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane fuckin’ rocks!