When you see a movie at a premiere screening sometimes you dont know what you are gonna get. I think its a great way to see a movie because there are no other opinions or reviews to get in your head and change the experience and you see the film for what it is, good or bad. I got a chance to check out the Midwest premiere screening of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at Flashback Weekend in Chicago and went in there with no expectations. Unfortunately, when it was all said and done I walked I out of the theater questioning the title because this is one boy who didn’t love Mandy Lane.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is the story of Mandy Lane(obviously). She is a high school student who isn’t quite in with the “in crowd” but finds herself on the verge of this after a summer in which the popular boys thinks she got extremely hot. Seeing as she is unused to the attention from the in crowd, she is still friends with Emmet who is not well accepted with the new group courting Mandy’s approval. Mandy brings Emmet to a party that he doesn’t want to be which turns out to be a disaster. The boys are all trying to score with Mandy, but she isn’t like that and turns them all down. When Emmet tells one guy he’s just like everybody else and needs to impress her if he wants a chance, the guy tries to impress but ends up with tragic consequences.
Flash forward nine months later and we see Mandy is now in with the popular crowd and she no longer hangs with the friends of her past. The stoner of her friends named Red has invited Mandy and their friends to his parents ranch for a few days of debauchery. Red and his two buddies Jake and Bird all argue who is gonna get to sleep with Mandy first. Obviously they have their intentions well set on Mandy but she is going to fit in with her new friends.
Once they arrive at Red’s parents ranch, the boys quickly vie for alone time with Mandy. Every time each person gets a moment alone with her, the others find a way to break it up. Also along on the trip are Chloe and Marlin who despite being great friends have it out for each other a little when it comes to the attention of the boys. Soon with the boys fighting for Mandy’s attention and the other girls fighting for the boys attention things begin to get a little heated. It doesn’t help that they aren’t thinking clearly from all the beer drinking, pot smoking, and Ritalin snorting as people begin taking jokes the wrong way and tempers flare.
With the friends slightly at odds, a few of them begin to storm their separate ways to cool down. Unfortunately, this leads to problems on the ranch that the ranchhand Garth is left to deal with since he promised Red’s parents to look after them. Unfortunately Garth’s role soon turn into protector as someone else is on the ranch and is hunting down everyone one by one. With the boys still fighting for Mandy’s love and everyone fighting for their lives, there is no telling who will walk out alive and with Mandy’s hand.
The story of high school kids partying in the middle of nowhere only to be hunted down and killed is too played out and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane didnt change this. They tried to make the unattainable aspect of Mandy an intriguing part of the film but since none of the other characters are really likable I found it hard to really care. The whole first half of this film was trying too hard to showcase Mandy’s innocence and really left me wanting to hit the snooze button and wake up when something began to happen.
Finally when things seem to happen on the ranch, they never keep going. The film didn’t keep momentum as the suspense built between kills was lacking. Every time I thought something might happen, it didn’t. Or worse, you thought something might happen and it did but I really didn’t care. It’s really hard to explain but to me the way things unfolded was just kind of empty and unoriginal.
The kills in the film were decent. There were two deaths that I enjoyed but one of them was spoiled because it was too dark to really enjoy. It may have been the contrast of the projector for the screening, but I think it may have been filmed this way. If that’s the case it’s a shame because the one gruesome kill is hidden too much in the shadows. The rest of the kills and special effects weren’t anything to get excited over either.
The acting wasn’t all that great. I think the only real good character was Amber Heard who played Mandy Lane. She really made the character of Mandy interesting so it’s a shame that the other characters were all flat and unlikeable. I think part of the reason the characters weren’t easy to like may have been the script. Yes I understand they are in high school and they were trying to make it realistic but I felt the script was just a little too juvenile and had no depth. They try and make Mandy a deep character but none of the other characters have any depth or backstory that would make you want to root for them as well.
I will applaud the filmmakers for trying trying to add a twist to the end of the film, its just too bad you can see it coming from a mile away. Not to mention it couldn’t stop at one foreseeable twist but at the end tries to take another clear as day twist that only jumbles things up more. Sometimes its best to stop while your ahead and even though the first twist wasn’t much of a surprise, it could have been played off better and not left to an even more predictable finish.
Overall it’s really hard to say much about this film. I think it was as flat as the Great Plains and never really got momentum rolling. The twists were predictable and the story was like many films of this style. Yeah some can argue that there was good realism with the high schooler’s attitudes as well as drug, alcohol and sex abuse but whats the realism good for without a story and characters to keep it interesting? Mandy Lane was the best thing going for this film so it’s proper her name was in the title but thats about all this film had. Without her, you could of called this film Lake Dead 2 and called it a day. The only thing I can say is I have a feeling that like me, not all the boys( or girls for that matter) will love Mandy Lane.