Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006): Boring the formula

Hey Token. You know you're going to die, right?
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
dir: Jonathon Levine

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is another throwback to the 80s slasher genre. It's a bunch of teenagers who go to a ranch, and then are stalked and murdered. Any viewer who has seen a movie can tell who the killer is from the beginning of the movie, and Levine doesn't stray from what you expect. At all.

Levine opens All the Boys Love Mandy Lane with Mandy coming back to school now fully matured, and she turned into a major hottie. She is invited to a house party where she is sexually harassed, to be defended by her best friend Emmet, who also convinces the harasser to kill himself by doing an impossible jump from the roof. Whee.

At the end of the school year, Mandy has fallen in with the crowd and Emmet is now on the outs. Mandy and her crowd go to one of their friends' ranch to drink, do drugs, and fuck while the parents are out, and they're being kind of looked after by the help, a hunky ranch hand played by Anson Mount.

The friends are generic as all hell. You have the drug addicted mean girl who calls her friend fat. The slutty girl who wants to fuck everybody. The kind of stoner. The black guy. And the insecure harasser. They're obvious stereotypes and cliches, who serve as nothing but fodder characters to be killed like the cattle the ranch hand talked about killing.

There is very little to the death sequences, and one is left with a feeling of extreme boredom. The tension isn't in the order of who is getting killed (it is kind of expected) nor in the method of murder (guns, fireworks, etc). Which leads one to wonder, what is this movie? It doesn't do anything better than Friday the 13th, not exactly a high bar to set. Hell, even the kids play Truth or Dare instead of strip Monopoly.

The only thing that could be mildly interesting is the expected twist at the end. And, really, that's just to add on a bit of misogyny that the movie had only been hinting at before by making all the non-Mandy Lane characters into mean girl cliches.

Yet, oddly, the movie is intriguing on an academic level instead of an emotional level. What is a horror movie with no interesting kill scenes, no tension, and a killer you expect?  It's just a drama of sorts. The use of the formula into one of the dullest horror movies in awhile makes All the Boys Love Mandy Lane more interesting than an average use of the formula, as it questions what you're watching and why it isn't working.

But, it still doesn't work and probably will never work.

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