Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blu-ray Review: ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006)


Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 90 Minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio with Optional English DH Subtitles
Video: 1080p widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch, Edwin Hodge, Aaron Himelstein

Jonathan Levine's debut feature film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) has been sitting on a shelf gathering dust for seven-years. In that time we've seen three of his films come to cinema and home video including The Wackness (2008) and Warm Bodies (2013) both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. Now that his first film has finally comes to Blu-ray we will find out, was it worth the wait?  

Teenager Mandy Lane (Amber Heard, Zombieland) has blossomed over the summer break from awkward teen to stunning teen beauty and not without the notice of her classmates. As the film opens a jock named Dylan invites her to his pool party, she agrees to attend but only if her outsider friend Emmet can accompany her, which he does. At the party Dylan clumsily attempts to seduce Mandy but she's just not having it, when Emmet embarrasses him by calling attention to this it pisses off the jock and there's a short-altercation in the pool. Afterward Emmet winds up sulking on the rooftop overlooking the pool when Dylan approaches him, he convinces Dylan that jumping from the roof into the pool below might attract Mandy's attention. Convinced he triumphantly yells "Mandy lane!" before leaping to his death after cracking his skull open on the edge of pool as horrified classmates look on. 

Now nine months later Mandy and Emmet are no longer friends and she's fallen in with the popular crowd, we get a nice mix of catty, Ritalin-snorting whores with body issues, jocks and an affable pothead. When she's invited to spend the weekend at a secluded ranch it's supposed to be a fun time drinking beers and swimming but it's not long before the teens each come to a bloody end. It's a pretty standard slasher set-up, there's not a lot new under the sun here but Levine does manage to squeeze some fun out of well-worn premise.

The music, score and cinematography set a specific tone and atmosphere that is pretty great, the aesthetic landing somewhere between The Virgin Suicides and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, it's hypnotic and some decent tension that slowly builds to a crescendo. So we have some great atmosphere and on top of that we have some decent characters with some depth and pathos, even the jocks and sluts have redeemable qualities, for the most part anyway. The killer's identity isn't really a shocker but the surreal finale is pretty great, this was a lot of fun. It might start off s bit slow, it takes it's time priming the pump before it flips the switch but when it does it pays off wonderfully and the kills are decent, not great. 

So yeah it was worth the wait and this Blu-ray looks a lot better than watching it on YouTube. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) won me over with some great atmosphere and fun characters, it's not at all original but it's a quality slasher and a very confident first film from Jonathan Levine who has already gone on to more acclaim. In my opinion with slashers it's not always about doing something completely new and original, it about just nailing it. 
4 Outta 5