Jonathan Levine, USA, 2006, 90 min.
It’s been 7 years since All the Boys Love Mandy Lane first hit the festival circuit. At the time, it received some interesting reviews and was snatched up by the Weinsteins. But after the failure of Grindhouse, they sold it to a company who promptly went out of business. For six years it remained unreleased.
Since then, director Johnathan Levine has made a name for himself directing The Wackness, 50/50 and Warm Bodies. Earlier this year Mandy Lane was finally released in the theaters, without fanfare, and just now made it to Netflix streaming.
So the film has years of hype to live up to. Not an easy task. The story starts off as a generic teen horror film. The titular highschooler (Amber Heard) has blossomed over the summer, causing most of the boys in her class to fall madly in love with her.
She is invited on a trip to a family ranch home of another student. A generic “couples” trip where no one is really a couple and everyone’s options are open. The guys make it abundantly clear to nearly everyone, that Mandy is the one they all want. Their plans are interrupted by, wait for it… murder! Someone, or something, on the ranch is not very friendly.
That’s the problem with the film. It’s a generic set-up, which leads to a standard slasher, with a ho-hum climax. Sure, there are some twists, but nothing remarkable. Amber Heard pulls off a solid, quiet performance. And the cinematography and direction are solid, especially in the daylight, which is great to see in a small indie-horror film.
But besides those two draws there isn’t much else to recommend. Is it a victim of the hype caused by it’s almost legendary delay? Maybe. Taken for what it is, I would say that this is a slightly above average horror film, but unfortunately that isn’t saying much.