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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane [Blu-ray]
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Mandy Lane. Beautiful. Untouched. High school royalty waiting to be crowned. Since the dawn of Junior year, men have tried to possess her. Some have even died in reckless pursuit of this 16 year-old Texas angel. Chloe and Red invite Mandy out to Red's family ranch for the weekend. Mandy sees it as an excellent opportunity to cement her new friendships. The boys see it as an opportunity to finally get with Mandy Lane. Driving across the Texas landscape, the kids begin to gently chip away at the wall that surrounds her. Joints are smoked. A keg is stolen off a beer truck. Pills are crushed to fine powder and inhaled. Mandy observes it all with the gentle interest of a foreign tourist. And they love her for it. At the ranch, all the boys start to make their move - each one hoping to be the first to attain the unattainable Mandy Lane. However, as night falls and the booze, drugs, and hormones take over, things are said and advances made which can never be reversed. Suddenly, sweet Mandy finds herself pit in a brutal struggle for survival against someone whose interest she has rejected. Forget reading, writing and arithmetic. In high school, learning to be yourself and not succumbing to peer pressure is the ultimate test. And this is one exam that Mandy is determined not to fail
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This is a very competent, stylish slasher in the style of ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Scream’. It's an enjoyable watch and is very much a throwback to the 80's slasher films, with the usual line up of promiscuous teens in peril getting killed off in various brutal ways by an unknown killer. However a few things distinguish this from others of its type, the first being that the first murder doesn't actually happen until over 30 minutes into the film, which helped set the scene, bumping up the tension and the story once things did start to kick in. The other is the ingenious twist at the end which also raises questions as to the motivations of the main protagonists, which are easy to figure, but not adequately explained [lose a *].
Compared to most films of the genre the killings tend to be standard fare and not over the top long drawn out gore fests, and many may not like the ‘slow’ start, so hard-core slasher fans may be disappointed. However, I still feel this is worth a solid **** rating just barely missing the top marks.
The film is not your normal "slasher" movie despite other reviews stating this and to win the Audience Award 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival indicates the film cannot be wholly all dire. Without giving the story away, the film has a pretty good script about teenagers and observations on their sexual and predatory attitudes with the killer being revealed pretty early on. The other enjoyable aspect is excellent cinematography (DoP Darren Genet) making full use of the rural landscape around Austin Texas where it was filmed and some high quality editing compared with the poor quality of most other low budget horror movies. The cast is mostly first timers but are not that bad overall given the shared group nature of such genre movies. Amber Heard in the lead role based on her excruciating interview included in the DVD, makes you realise how skilful her acting in the film actually is!
So overall not a classic but different enough to merit a viewing!
Mandy Lane is a very popular girl. All the girls want to be friends with her, all the boys want to be more than friends. Mandy, however, seems oblivious to all the attention, preferring just to hang around with geeky friend Emmet. Whe she is invited to a pool party, she insists that Emmet comes along. However, things go horribly wrong when a prank by Emmet leads to a death.
Nine months later and the two have drifted apart. Mandy has a new circle of friends, and against her mothers advice, she accepts an invitation to her friend Red's frat party, taking place at a deserted ranch.
As Mandy and her group of five friends settle down to a weekend of drunken debauchery, it soon becomes clear that something is amiss down on the farm. One by one, the party of six are brutally murdered, and it seems that an uninvited guest has let their love for Mandy Lane turn to a dangerous obsession...
This is a very competant, stylish slasher. It's an enjoyable watch and as other reviewers have mentioned, it is very much a throwback to the endless cycle of 80's slasher films, with the usual line up of promiscuous teens in peril. However, whilst it does superficially resemble those films, it does contain an ingenious twist at the end that was definately worth the wait. It's a twist that also raises many questions as to the motivations of the main protagonists. These questions are in the main left up to the audience to interpret.
Where the film is a slight down for me, is that it hardly draws on the backgrounds of any of the characters. This inevitably does make it difficult for the viewer to really care about any of their fates. So, although it does work as a clinical slasher film, I was slightly dissapointed that there was so so little expostion as to what made the characters tick and their subsequent behaviours and motivations. Still, it all passes the time very painlessly, even if it did leave me with a slightly empty feeling as the end credits rolled.
Very little worth mentioning in regard to extras on the disc. The main event a rather prefunctionary interview with lead actor Amber Heard. 3 out of 5 for the whole package.
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