Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane Review

I recently watched the much hyped All The Boys Love Mandy Lane slasher. I took a little time to digest the movie and decided to write a review about what I thought. So, let's hear what the hype is all about, shall we?

The movie opens with a scene at a party where Mandy Lane and her male friend are hanging out with people that are far more popular than they are. The male friend is made fun of to no end, but Mandy is hot, so she just gets a bunch of attention from all the jocks at the party. One of them starts arguing with the male friend on a roof and the friend convinces the jock to jump off the roof into the pool below to impress Mandy. Of course, he doesn't make it, dies, and the male friend is thusly ostracized for the rest of high school.

Fast forward a couple of years and we find Mandy is still hot and still the desire of all the boys (as the title would suggest). Mandy goes with some friends to a ranch in the middle of nowhere to have some fun. The ranch hand is there to watch over them, and everything seems to go well. Nothing bad could ever happen from a group of teens drinking in the middle of nowhere, especially when death is already established as a big part of their lives. Well, except for a killer stalking them and killing them off one by one. That could happen, I guess.

And happen it does. The kids are stalked by none other than the male friend from the beginning (trust me, it's not a secret in the movie, so I didn't just give anything away) and they are killed in fairly gruesome ways. And then, in a great finale, something twist-like happens that you will never see coming (or maybe you will like I did)!

Cinematography: I have to hand it to the movie, Mandy Lane is well shot. It's got some good camerawork and interesting shot angles. The color palette is intriguing, mostly skewing towards the yellows and browns, giving it a very washed out look. It's an artistic looking movie, and that makes it pretty easy to watch. However, it isn't anything I haven't seen before or been done better recently. It was fun to watch, but it wasn't revolutionary. However, it was pretty exceptionally well shot for a horror movie, so it gets 4 out of 5 for Cinematography.

Execution: It's a slasher film. That involves teens doing drugs/alcohol and getting picked off by a stalking killer. We're not breaking new ground here. It was a good slasher though, and it held some conventions pretty well. The characters are pretty cookie cutter high school stereotypes (jocks that only want girls, girls that only want sex from popular boys, one druggie friend that doesn't really fit), but you are supposed to dislike them. It succeeds in making you root for the right people, that's for sure. The acting is ample, but not exactly Oscar-worthy. However, they aren't reading Shakespeare, so it works for the material at hand. It was kind of a bland offering at times, engaging in others, so Mandy Lane gets 3 out of 5 for Execution.

Sub-Genre Comparison: It's pretty well documented that I am not a huge slasher fan, so I wasn't entirely excited to watch this movie. I did make it through, though I would rather have watched Cold Prey or The Cottage. Mandy Lane is better than most standard slasher fare and it's not a remake, so it has that leg up on most of the competition. As far as recent slashers, it's a good entry. As far as comparing it to Halloween or Friday the 13th (originals), it can't compare. The filmmakers did a good job, but it was not a movie that I am going to be striving to watch over and over like Carpenter's Halloween. All things considered, it was better than most, so Mandy Lane gets 3 out 5 for Sub-Genre Comparison.

Production Value: This movie looks much better than most and you can't tell the budget by looking at it. The sets are great and the ranch is an interesting setting to say the least. The blood/gore was quite well done and not over the top. The kills weren't anything to write home about, but they looked good and so did the aftermath. It didn't look too CGI or anything like that, so logically it should hold up pretty well in the future. The movie looks more like a big budget movie than a low budget movie, so it succeeds in that respect. Overall, it earns a respectable 3 out of 5 for Production Value.

Scares: As far as slashers go, they are about as scary as girl scout troops to me. I mean, a good one can get some tension out there and make some great scares, but rarely does a slasher do that for me. Mandy Lane manages a bit of tension in parts, but overall is pretty stale on the scare front. The characters have a bit of a feeling of isolation, but really, it's hard to keep up when the characters could just run away from the ranch at any moment (and do at one point). Sure, they are in the middle of nowhere, but they never really feel that alone. The ranch hand manages to save the day a few times, so you don't get the sense of dread that you would normally in a movie like this. It wasn't without it's good scenes though, so I can give it 3 out of 5 for Scares.

And the final tally chalks Mandy Lane up to 16 out of 25. Basically, it didn't make me want to stop the movie, but it didn't make me want to buy it. It was a pretty respectable entry for slashers, but isn't worth the hype of it not being released for such a long time (it has been notoriously held from release for quite a while now). All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was a good movie to watch, but I don't really want to watch it again. I can't stand most twist endings, but this one was okay. It wasn't like The Sixth Sense, but it wasn't bad enough to do a Pointless Twist Endings entry on it. I would say if you like slashers to see it, but you can wait for it to be legal to obtain.

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