Saturday, May 23, 2009

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

Even in High school, I've never considered wasting my time with slashers for obvious reasons. However, with all the hype surrounding All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (an independent film that mixes the genres of thriller, slasher and teen drama) I just couldn't ignore it. In the end, from what I guess, the film evidently stands out from most of its competitors because of its director's willingness to have a decent script.

Over the summer, Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), a High school student from Texas, has gotten beautiful and virtually all the boys from her school desire her. One day, Emmett (Michael Welch), her best friend, and her are invited at Dylan’s ranch. During the night, Emmett dares Dylan to jump in the swimming pool from the roof. Of course, this results in Dylan’s death because his head hit the edge of the swimming pool.

Nine months later, the friendship between Emmett and Mandy appears to be over. Besides, she moves on by befriending with Red (Aaron Himelstein), Chloe (Whitney Able), Marlyn (Melissa Price), Bird (Edwin Hodge) and Jake (Luke Grimes). To celebrate the end of the school year, Red invites the previously mentioned people including Mandy. Of course, while the boys all want to be the first to get to the third base with Mandy, it appears that someone is killing to get to Mandy.

If you're looking for a slasher per se, you're in for quite a disappointing ride. As a matter of fact, while the film gradually brings us toward the final act when many people will get killed, the story tries to make us care about the characters. Does it work? Well, since the film combines some elements of real slasher films, one might not give a business whether the supporting characters die or live. This means that apart from Mandy, the female characters are looking for love while the boys are nothing but sexually drooling dogs. Nonetheless, through the jealousy that motivates the unknown killer to eliminate the competition, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is, at best, a theme-driven film that somehow superficially explores teen issues. As the film points it out, in our search for a relation, do we give more importance to sex over real love? Besides, are beauty standards a sort of social dictatorship?

Through this attempt to give a goal to the film, the scriptwriter hopefully avoids to look as dumb as other people who've scripted slashers (PS: the film is not much of a slasher). Indeed, in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, the violence in the final act is not used in order to mindlessly entertain us. As a result of this, the killer (who will eventually be revealed) in this film stands out from his counterparts for the story gives him a personality and hence a reason to kill people. Thus, with this in mind, it's easy to enjoy the plot twist at the end.

Of course, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is not a masterpiece, but it is worth watching. Unlike many of its teen-horror films, it tries to surpass its competitors by having a script that combines slashers' elements and teen issues in a fairly smart way. This means that if you're looking for a film in which people die without much of a reason, then skip this one. Besides, the cast hadn't been given a script to fully express the potential depth of their characters. Despite that, many actors in this film do their best to professionally grow, especially Amber Heard (who looks so LOVELY!).

Rating: 3/5

Origin:USA (2006)
Length:90 minutes
Screenplay:Jacob Forman
Director:Jonathan Levine
Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Anson Mount, Aaron Himelstein, Whitney Able, Melissa Price, Edwin Hodge and Luke Grimes

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