Oct 4, 2014

4 of 31: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2008)

A vain attempt by a formerly prolific blogger to review 31 new (to me) horror films in the 31 days of October. We did it last year and it was a gas. Can we do it once more? Let's find out.

Platform: Netflix on Roku
Starring: Amber Heard

I'm watching this flick for three reasons:
  1. I remember hearing something about how the film was stuck in studio release purgatory. It was completed in 2006 and hit a couple of low-level film festivals that year. Then it was given a theatrical release in 2008 in the UK, but not here. Then it was stuck in said purgatory before some kind of deal was made to give it a limited theatrical release last year while hitting VOD at the same time. Had me thinking it had to be really good or really bad. Either way...win.
  2. The title sounds like some made-for-TV Saturday night flick on ABC from back in the 1970's. Or just what my childhood memory of what those flicks were called back then. But it definitely has a 1970's vibe going on in the title. Again...either really good or really bad. Either way...you know the drill.
  3. Amber Heard is in my absolute favorite movie of all-time. Drive Angry with Nicolas Cage. I'm not kidding. My favorite movie of all-time! OK...maybe that's a stretch. But there was a year or two there that I watched it whenever it was on. Literally! I saw that movie maybe 25 times in that year or two. And I fucking loved it every time. If you don't have enough room in your heart for how awesome Drive Angry is, well...then maybe you don't have enough room in your heart for me. And I'm a little sad for you. Because I'm all class.
Let's kick the tires on this bad boy.

Mandy Lane (Heard) is a loner high school student who, apparently, has become an insta-hottie over the summer break. Because there's even the smallest chance that Amber Heard wasn't always the prettiest girl in whatever room she has ever walked into in her entire life. Whatever. This new-found hotness has attracted all the best douche-bag dudes in her school. Who says beauty has no price? Alpha douche-bag invites her and her puppy dog male bestie over to his house for a pool party. Shenanigans occur, leaving one dead alpha douche-bag after he drunkenly attempts to jump from his roof to the pool to impress Mandy. Too bad...so sad.

We flash forward nine months and find that Mandy Lane is now running with the popular crowd. She's gone as far as setting her little puppy dog male bestie loose. He's just heartbroken without her. She and a group of her oh-so-popular running mates take a weekend trip for a party at a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere. Oh, how very Texas Chainsaw Massacre of them all! And all the boys are trying to get with our titular (hehe) heroine, Mandy Lane*. Hence the title, apparently.

*Quick sidenote: I'm not all the way through the film yet, but everyone in the film, including Mandy Lane herself, refers to her as Mandy Lane. Not Mandy, Mandy Lane. "Hi, I'm Garth.", "Hi, I'm Mandy Lane." We don't know his last name. We don't know anyone's last name in the entire film except for her. I call bullshit. Ahem...

Mandy's peer group is a clear cross section of the popular crowd. Two hunks/jocks (one black, one white), two sluts/sluts (one blonde, one brunette) and the rich stoner kid. Because it's his father's cattle ranch, of course. Ya gotta keep one of those kids around. Especially in a 1970's-ish/grindhouse-ish horror homage. But where's darling Franklin? Clear missed opportunity.

What happens next? Well, someone starts gobbling up lovely Mandy Lane's popular buds. But who? You'll have to watch it yourself to find out, but it's more about the journey than the destination. If you know what I mean. Pretty standard slasher/grindhouse fare, but that doesn't mean it's not a fun ride. Or at least it WAS a fun ride. The first half, maybe. Then the oh-so-obvious killer is revealed, and then the twist. Wouldn't be a modern horror story without a twist. I'm beginning to despise the twist. Devil's Rejects didn't need a twist. Sigh.

I really had high hopes for this one early on. It was dark and moody and atmospheric. The acting was decent and the soundtrack was vaguely fun. But it all dissolved into silliness and crap in the second half. I'm not really sure why it all went down the way it did, to be honest. More to the point, I didn't really care. And that's a shame, because things could have turned out so much better. Not for the popular kids. Nope...they are going to die either way. I meant as a viewing experience.

As it is? Meh.

Verdant Dude Rating: 2 out of 5 pumpkin ales.


MARTIN said...

I haven't seen this for a few years but I remember it being fairly enjoyable. I think I'll give it another crack this SHOCKtober. As for the whole Mandy Lane full name thing, I have a friend (whose name I will not disclose) whom everyone, including herself, refers to in full name only. It's pretty funny.

Verdant Earl said...

Martin - If only the second half were as good as the first. Maybe it's just me.