All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
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All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

For a long time, anything less than a full theatrical distribution was viewed as a failure. If the studios were unwilling to commit to even the lower tier release of a B movie it has to be because it is awful. Perhaps it might have been true at a certain point in time but as the film examined here, ĎAll the Boys Love Mandy Laneí demonstrates such an assessment of a movieís overall worth is subject to the advancements in technology. Once video tape was prevalent in homes across the country, the stigma was extended to include them. Now with DVDs and streaming video has become a valid and respectable means for a filmmaker to obtain an audience for their labors. The latest method of distribution is MOD, manufacture on demand and its impatient brother, VOD, video on demand. This movie was held in the limbo of the distributorís vaults languishing in a legally suspended animation. The company holding the distribution rights filed bankruptcy so after a brief tour of the independent film festival it remained since 2006 until just recently. Although the movie is not the best example of the cinematic arts, it is reminiscent of some of the B movies we enjoyed when the movie house was the dominant source of entertainment and socialization.

The titular Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is famous in her Texas high school despite her propensity for being reserved. As a beautiful young woman, Mandy has caught the libidinous attention of the entire male portion of the student body. One of the most popular boys in school, Dylan (Adam Powell) invites Mandy to a party he is throwing at his parentís lavish home. Mandy accepts the invitation but only if her best friend, Emmet (Michael Welch) can attend. Dylan had some plans involving Mandy that would be greatly hindered with the nerdy Emmet tagging along. In the course of the shindig, Dylan brings Emmet up to the roof of the house daring him to jump off into the pool together to impress Mandy. A disagreement occurs with Dylan, proving his alpha status and worthiness for the female prize increases. He hits his head on the edge of the pool and dies instantly.

Several months later another student, Red (Aaron Himelstein) holds a party out on a cattle ranch owned by his folks. Naturally, Mandy is invited and after asking permission from her guardian, Aunt Jo (Peyton Hayslip) she goes along. Mandy has been keeping to herself even more than before the incident. Her reputation as a virgin surrounds her with the forbidden fruit mystique that combined with her looks, and shy personality enhances her appeal to the already lusting boys on campus. The isolated location of the ranch, a sizable number of potential victims, makes this the ideal setting for a horror film which is precisely the intent of the filmmaker, Jonathan Levine intended as he worked from the screenplay provided by Jacob Forman. This is the classic formula for a slasher style horror flick. A group of ten including a lovely virgin and a considerable distance between them and the rest of the world means only one thing; that number will steadily diminish gruesomely as the night progresses.

At this point in the slasher flick checklist, some hijinks representative on teens devoid of adult supervision is prone to get into. It starts off slowly by the script with dangerous dares. In this particular instance, it involves driving over a cattle grid, but Chloe (Whitney Able) refuses. A seat shortage is present due to the keg of beer the guys purloined at a truck stop. To help alleviate the situation Mandy and Bird (Edwin Hodge) volunteer to walk. On the way, Bird begins to make overtures to Mandy asking to hold her hand. Soon he gently escalates by requesting a kiss. Mandy responds with a kiss on the cheek; not exactly what he hoped for but more than any other guy has managed. They are interrupted by the ranch hand, Gath (Anson Mount).

After settling in the group goes off to swim in a nearby lake; check off yet another requisite trope, kids getting rowdy at a secluded lake. The foundation of every example of this genre is the kids have never seen a horror movie. Queue the drinking and games of a sexual nature. Jake (Luke Grimes), upset by taunting remarks storms off quickly followed by Marlin (Melissa Price). Heading off to a convenient work shed she proceeds to give him head. Check off another one and guess what happens next. Once she finishes Jake, proving chivalry is indeed dead, leaves. Marlin is quickly hit in the face by the butt of a shot gun. When the power is cut, so the group does the illogical thing by separating. Jake confesses to Marlin he did it as a plot to be alone with her, but the group had already split up. This permits a couple of different plot threads to proceed in an attempt to provide a scaffold for the killing. That does begin now that the ground work has been established. One of the salient devices is Mandy has been avoiding Emmet since Dylanís death holding him in some way of being responsible.

Evidence is planted in the mind of the audience that the ends all come back to the virginal Mandy such as blood streaking her hair at an inopportune point. Anyone that has ever watched a slasher flick, which apparently excludes the characters, realizes that is much too simplistic even for a horror movie that falls short of its potential. At least the cast is sufficiently talented, as far as this genre tends to employ. First and foremost Ms. Heard who can combine physical attractiveness and talent in one package. As a beautiful young woman, she is guaranteed to keep busy in film and television. This foundation for a career does typically have an expiration date as time takes its toll and gravity do what it inevitably does. She is a steady journeyman actor would has endeavored to explore different roles although many still require looks. This was earlier in her career, but since then she has been making an effort to expand her repertoire.

The movie is sufficient to serve as a Friday night beer and pizza flick when hanging out with friends. It should be evident that wives and girlfriends should not be required to watch. Also, exclude anyone that is rather discerning about such cinematic peculiarities in the taste of expecting plot originality or anything to differentiate it offering from the plethora of similar others.

Posted 12/07/2013            08/20/2017

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