out of Five
Running time: 88
Engaging, sharply acted slasher movie that's a cut above the usual rubbish, thanks to a decent script and impressive direction by Jonathan Levine.
What's it all about?
Newcomer Amber Heard plays Mandy Lane, a virginal Texas high school student who's lusted after by everyone around her, including her nerdy best friend, Emmet (Michael Welch). When term ends, Mandy accepts an invite to a party at a remote ranch with some of her classmates: nice guy Bird (Edwin Hodge), party animal Red (Himelstein), dopey Jake (Luke Grimes), slutty Marlin (Melissa Price) and ditsy Chloe (Whitney Able).
When they arrive, the boys find their style slightly cramped by the presence of hunky farm hand Garth (Anson Mount), particularly as both Chloe and Mandy seem to have the hots for him. However, it soon becomes clear that someone else is lurking in the shadows and in true slasher movie fashion, it isn't long before the dope-smoking, horny teenagers start getting picked off one by one, in increasingly gruesome ways.
The buzz on Mandy Lane (which played at Fright Fest last year) is that it's "like a slasher movie directed by Terrence Malick" and while that's not entirely true, it does have an effective 1970s-type feel to it, thanks to Darren Genet's stunning cinematography. In addition, director Jonathan Levine ensures that the atmosphere is thick with sexual tension so that when the killings finally start it actually comes as something of a relief.
The performances are excellent and the young cast transcend their stereotypical roles, creating believable, familiar characters, even if they're not especially likeable. Amber Heard is particularly good as Mandy, who seems naively oblivious to the danger around her.
Slasher fans will no doubt be pleased to learn that the film doesn't skimp on the gore either – the killings are extremely nasty, but not in an overly gratuitous, torture-porn-type way.
In short, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is an engagingly acted, impressively directed slasher movie that marks director Jonathan Levine out as a talent to watch. Recommended.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (18)