‘She’s to die for’
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a 2006 American horror feature film directed by Jonathan Levine from a screenplay by Jacob Forman. It stars Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Whitney Able and Anson Mount.
The plot focuses on a group of teenagers who invite a popular but shy outsider, Mandy, to spend the weekend at a secluded ranch house, and are targeted by a stalker who is after her.
Originally completed in 2006 on a reported budget of just $750,000, the film premiered at a number of film festivals throughout 2006 and 2007. The film went unreleased in the United States after being sold in 2006 by The Weinstein Company to Senator Entertainment, who went out of business shortly after purchasing the rights to the film.
On March 8, 2013, it was announced that The Weinstein Company had re-acquired the rights to theatrically release the film in the United States. It is scheduled to be finally available through video on demand in September 2013, and is due for a limited release October 6, 2013, under Weinstein’s subsidiary label Dimension Films. The film’s gradual cult following yet lack of Stateside release has received wide attention in such diverse media as The Wall Street Journal as an example of the failure of the film industry to successfully market obvious low budget hits whilst constantly pushing supposed blockbuster box office failures.
At a Texas high school, Mandy Lane is a popular outsider. Dylan invites her to a party at his house and she accepts with the provision that her best friend, Emmet, can also attend. At the party, Dylan and Emmet clash, and Emmet sits on the roof overlooking the pool. Dylan joins him and is convinced to jump from the roof to the pool to get Mandy’s attention. Dylan jumps but misses, hitting his head on the edge of the pool, and dies.
Nine months later, Red is having a party at his father’s ranch and has invited Mandy along. Since Dylan’s death, she has refused to talk to Emmet. 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.
Once at the house, they begin drinking and playing games. Mandy is the only one to stay sober. After a disparaging remark, Jake walks out, followed by his girlfriend, Marlin. They engage in oral sex, then Jake leaves. Marlin is hit in the jaw with the butt of a shotgun. The double-barrel is rammed down her throat, almost killing her. While looking for Marlin, Jake discovers her, barely alive, but is shot by the stranger, and Marlin finally dies…
The film received mixed reviews upon its releases in Europe and Canada. It received positive praise from The Globe and Mail, who noted that it “displays an intelligence lacking in most teen slasher pics”, and Film Threat called the film “a well-shot, […] semi-cerebral horror film.”
eFilmCritic noted the film’s flaws concerning the writing of its titular character, but also noted that it “evokes the rich landscapes of early Terrence Malick and the grimy grindhouse tales of the ‘70s, converging poetically into its heart-mashing climax. This is a film where the blood and carnage doesn’t feel like corn syrup or CGI and each death grows in sadness, not quality.”
Other critics gave the film less flattering reviews, with The Guardian calling it “bogus and compromised: an unreconstructed horror romp in the guise of a nerdish intellectual.”
“A twist in the final act, though you may see it coming, still packs a significant punch, especially within the somewhat diluted subgenre, which all too often relies on the most obvious, yet least believable, conclusion. Mandy Lane’ retains its serious tone throughout, but, rather impressively, it manages to resist the urge to make any kind of statement about high school, teenage crushes or anything else – very little is explained once the twist has been revealed, and it ends on a rather clever note.” UK Horror Scene
“Overall, it’s not the most well-paced or original horror movie out there, but it’s pretty solid in the areas where it counts the most: style, entertainment value, and violence. The fleshed-out characters and the gorgeous Amber Heard are simply icing on the cake.” The Death Rattle