All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At a Texas high school, Mandy Lane is an outsider who develops over the summer and becomes a “hot chick” who starts getting a great deal of attention from her male classmates, especially the jocks and populars. Dylan, a jock and popular, invites Mandy to a pool party at his house and she accepts with the provision that her best friend, Emmet – another outsider and bullying victim – can come along with her. At the party, Dylan makes passes at Mandy and puts his hand on Mandy’s thigh. Emmet sprays Dylan with a supersoaker to get him to remove it. Dylan punches Emmet in the head, throws him in the pool and holds Emmet’s head under water until Mandy intercedes.

Emmet, with a bottle of whiskey, retreats to a roof overlooking the pool. Dylan comes to get him down but Emmet tricks him into jumping from the roof into the pool. When Dylan jumps he hits his head on cemment and dies.

Nine months later, Red is having a small party at his father’s cattle ranch and has invited Mandy along. She obtains permission from her aunt and agrees to go. Since Dylan’s death, she has been “befriended” by many of Dylan’s friends, who were also at the pool party. Conversely, Emmet has been almost completely ostracized and is subjected to even more intense bullying. Mandy seems to be the only person Emmet communicates with, and those communications are brief as Mandy’s “new friends” seem intent on having her participate in Emmet’s exclusion.

On the way to the ranch, the kids take a break at a railroad track, then steal a keg from a driver (Robert Earl Keen) at a truck stop. When they arrive at the ranch, Chloe refuses to drive her car over the cattle grid and so with a shortage of seats, Mandy and Bird elect to walk to the ranch.

While walking, Bird asks to hold Mandy’s hand, and she agrees. He then asks if he can kiss her, to which she agrees also, and he kisses her on the cheek, but is interrupted by Garth, the ranch hand. Once at the house, the kids go swimming in a nearby lake, and later begin drinking and playing games. After a disparaging remark, Jake walks out, followed by Marlin. They stop in a cattle shed where they engage in oral sex, and then get into an argument, and Jake leaves. Marlin is hit in the jaw with the butt of a double-barrel shotgun, and as Jake returns to the house, the power goes out. The group separates— Red goes to help Chloe who is upstairs alone, Bird goes out to start the generator, and Mandy starts lighting candles in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Marlin awakens to find the double-barrel shotgun rammed down her throat, almost killing her. Back at the house, Mandy is confronted by Jake who confesses to turning off the power in order to spend time alone with her; he tries to kiss her, but she refuses and he storms out.

Jake decides to go look for Marlin after being rejected by both Mandy and Chloe, and takes Red’s car and gun. Jake belligerently drives around in the darkness and eventually finds Marlin sitting by the lake; when he realizes she is injured, he is pushed into the lake and then shot to death; the hooded killer (who is revealed to be Emmet) then breaks Marlin’s neck with the butt of the shotgun.

Soon after, Bird, Mandy, Red, and Chloe are joined by Garth at the house after a stranger in Red’s car fires fireworks at them on the porch. Bird chases after the car, believing that Jake is the driver, but encounters Emmet. During their fight, Emmet blinds Bird by cutting him across his eyes, and then stabs him to death. At the ranch, Mandy falls asleep in the kitchen and Red and Chloe fall asleep on the couch. In the morning, Emmet enters the house and approaches sleeping Mandy, stroking her hair. Garth hears noise in the kitchen and suspects someone is in the house, but upon rushing downstairs finds Mandy still asleep with blood on her hair; “wake up” is spelled out on alphabet magnets on the refrigerator. Garth and Mandy realize that they need to leave and go to wake up Red and Chloe.

As they open the door to leave, Emmet shoots Garth. Red and Chloe escape out the back door of the house and run to Chloe’s car, where they discover the bodies of Jake and Marlin dangling from a barbed-wire fence. Distraught, Chloe and Red embrace and kiss one another, when Red is shot from afar; paralyzed, he is beaten to death by Emmet. Chloe flees, heading back to the ranch, and finds Bird’s body in the hay fields. As she runs back to the ranch she is chased by Emmet driving her car.

Meanwhile, Mandy retrieves the keys to Garth’s jeep and finds the hunting knife Emmet used to kill Bird. She then sees Chloe running towards the ranch, screaming, pursued by Emmet. Chloe runs to Mandy, but upon embracing her, Mandy stabs her in stomach. While Chloe bleeds to death, Emmet and Mandy then discuss their suicide pact; it has been agreed upon that Mandy will take pills before shooting Emmet in the heart. Mandy then refuses, never having intended to kill herself. She and Emmet get into an argument and begin fighting. Garth witnesses the fight, and shoots Emmet, who then attacks him. Mandy runs into the fields, chased by Emmet, and falls into a ditch full of cattle carcasses, where the two fight. Mandy eventually gets hold of Emmet’s machete, and stabs him to death. She then helps the wounded Garth into his jeep. They drive away, and Garth thanks Mandy for saving him, assuming her to be a victim in Emmet’s murder plot.

A flashback then shows the group back at a railroad track, where they took a break from their drive. They are all goofing off, and Mandy is seen balancing on the tracks, giving the camera a knowing look.

REVIEW:

With a title like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, you are instantly drawn into this picture, if for nothing else than to find out what this is about. I know that I’m not the biggest horror/thriller fan, but it truly is too bad that the film doesn’t live up to its title.

What is this about?

Beautiful teen Mandy Lane is perfect, and all the boys want her. Badly. But when she accepts an invitation to a weekend party at a secluded ranch, the bodies begin piling up, and Mandy finds herself in a fight for her life.

What did I like?

Teenagers. These days it seems as if you can’t have a horror film without teenagers, because teenagers are apparently the only ones that get scared (or studios can make money off of). With that in mind, the teenagers in this picture sure do fit the mold for stupid kids that deserve to die. With the exception or 1 or 2, then they all got what was coming to them. Had this been done with adults, or maybe even if the cast was playing their real age, it might not have worked as well.

Look. There is a nice grindhouse look to this film that I really appreciate. Not only is pleasing to my eyes, but it also fits the tone of the film. Similar to Machete, I think it would have been better had they kept that look going throughout the whole picture.

What didn’t I like?

Average Amber. The way they were fawning over and describing Mandy Lane, one would think that she is the most beautiful girl in the world. Amber Heard is a beautiful actress, no doubt about it, but if we were in high school together, she seems to be totally approachable. Perhaps that is what the casting directors wanted, but given the way they were describing the character though, they should have found someone more along the lines of Scarlett Johnasson, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, etc. Not necessarily those actresses, but someone that rivals their looks.

Pacing. The first half of this film had me dozing off. Other than the opening scene that sets up everything, it was just random babbling, without anything happening. I literally could have gone down the street to the store and back and not be lost as to what was happening. This seems to be a fatal flaw among films of this ilk, as they are get bogged down in their own narrative, forgetting that the audience wants to see something happen, not listen to them talk.

Holdup. Originally released in the festival circuit in 2006, the rest of the world had to wait until 2013 to see. Why was there such a delay? I really couldn’t tell you. My guess is that it has something to do with financing the advertising blitz. Is that an excuse? No, not really, but there must be some reason it was held away from audiences, not counting my opinion about the film.

Do All the Boys Love Mandy Lane? Well, this boy didn’t. I can’t quite put my finger on the exact reason, but this film left me feeling relieved it was over. By ever stretch of the imagination, it shouldn’t have been that way given the twist at the end. Do I recommend this horror thriller? No, there are surely much better films in the genre out there that are infinitely more worthwhile.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”

  1. […] Granted, most movies that are set in Texas tend to go for the more open parts. Take for instance All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which I watched this last week. That was set and filmed in Texas, but it wasn’t inherently […]

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