Director: Jonathan Levine
Screenplay By: Jacob Forman
Release Date: September 6, 2013
Run Time: 90 Minuets
“All The Boys Love Mandy Lane” is a deliberate throwback to the 70’s style of horror movie, where the horror came from the unpredictability of violence and mans capacity for brutality towards his fellow man. The film pulls this off flawlessly. While Levine doesn’t go so far in aping the style as Tarantino would, he clearly has a firm understanding of what made this decade’s horror offerings meaningful.
The film starts with Mandy Lane, an outsider turned “hot chick” in the summer before her Junior year of High School. One of the schools jocks mentions how hot she’s become and invites her to a pool party. While there he makes a few passes at her, only stopping when one of Mandy’s old friends (a boy named Emmet) squirts him in the face with a water gun, instigating a fight between the two boys. Mandy swiftly puts a stop to the fight and clearly loses all interest in the Jock, forcing him to make nice with Emmet. The two boys meet on the roof, where Emmet explains that Mandy isn’t the kind of girl who goes for Alpha Male jerks, and if he wants to have a chance with her, he has to do something….extreme. The jock guy, who had way too much to drink at this point, decides the best way to win her favor is too jump from the roof to the pool. This works in getting her attention, but only because he smashes his head on the side.
We jump forward to the next year. Mandy and Emmet no long seems to be friends, and it’s clear the Jock didn’t survive. Mandy and her new group of friends all plan on going to a farm house owned by one of the boys parents. Unknown to Mandy is the fact that each of the three boys going is in computation with each other to be the one who takes her virginity.
So Mandy, along with two other girls and the three boys trying to get down her pants head off for a weekend of drinking, drugs and debotury, with only an underpaid ranch hand too keep an eye on them. Unfortunately for the group, some one fallowed them, and the ministry figure is out for blood. It doesn’t take long for corpses to start dropping, but no one notices right away as everyone just assumes the they’re off having sex or having fit over some little things.
Unfortunately this is where talking about the plot gets difficult. The killer revile is based on a twist that, while it works and fits the 70’s horror tone the film is going for, it also makes the film much less interesting. Once the killer is reviled it seems like the movie is going to be about sexual politics in modern America. But then their motivations are reviled and it just becomes actively less interesting.
The best way I can describe it without giving the plot away is like this: “Bioshock”’s Andrew Ryan is a better villain than “Biosock: Infinite”’s Commstock because Ryan was about something. There was a reason, an ideology behind Ryan, where as Commstock was just a racist nut bag. If the movie had followed up on it’s interesting Ryan-esk villain, the movie as a whole would have been better.
So what does the film do right? Well, it really gets the 70’s horror feel right. The film makers even went so far as to have the teens drink out of yellow-plastic cups instead of the more traditional red ones because the color wouldn’t have fit the 70’s aesthetic. This kind of attention to detail is present throughout the film, showing a real love and appreciation for the source material. Again, the film doesn’t go as far as to recreate whole scenes from previous movies, this understanding of the era makes its use of the format and thus it’s similar themes stand out more.
The acting in the movie is above average, but nothing awe inspiring. From what i’ve gathered this was Amber Heard’s (Mandy Lane) first big role and i’m kind of surprised I haven’t seen her in more films, because she pulled off most of her character beats effortlessly. The only other films i’ve seen her in was as a cameo in “Zombieland” and in the understandably underrated “Drive Angry” (a film I found enjoyable but not very good). The rest of the cast does well but also didn’t fare to well afterwards (one was even unfortunate enough to be in all the Twilight movies). Really the only person who walked away with a career was the director, Jonathan Levine. Levine went on to direct the only good looking paranormal romance “Warm Bodies” and the fantastic “50/50”.
In the end, if you want a 70’s style horror movie but can’t stomach a 45 minute rape scene (like in the original “I spit on Your Grave”), then you should give this one a look.