If you’re not familiar with All The Boys Love Mandy Lane there’s good reason. Through a series of events that can only be described as “Piss poor luck” All The Boys Love Mandy Lane has ended up being more or less permeantly shelved thanks to a legal quagmire that has already become legendary. In its wake a small cult has built up around Lane, as it tends to do around any lost film.
But is it worth it?
It’s a valid question that one must consider. Is the only reason All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is popular due to the fact that you can’t see it? If there was easy access to it would it languish in 5.00 DVD bins and be lambasted as yet another pale Weinstein company retread? Does Amber Heard have the worst luck in Hollywood?
Well yes and no.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, is a decent enough programmer that manages to be a throwback without being a mere pale imitator and seems to have a real understanding of the subgenre its throwing back to (You might think that this is a prerequisite to making a “throwback” film. I wish I could go back to that kind of innocence.)
Unlike so many modern day Slasher films All The Boys Love Mandy Lane actually feels like a slasher film (Though the term is something of a misnomer as a bladed implement is only used twice and not at all until more than an hour in). It’s surprisingly slow paced for one thing, with the horror not starting until well past the thirty minute mark in a film that barely clocks in at eighty. Thankfully unlike most modern day slasher fodder the characters don’t know they’re in a horror movie, they think they’re in Dazed And Confused. These proud descendents of slasher bait (including the finest jock asshole who deserves to die that I’ve seen in many a moon) are Doobie smoking, horn dogs who stop at isolated gas stations and never once feel the need to comment ironically on their plight. Things wrap up with a nicely done twist, which cleverly plays on the concept of The Final Girl. Add in an appealing ballsy twenty minute daylight horror climax and we’re all good right?
Well not quite, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane manages to make a surprising amount of missteps in its short runtime. Not all of it is the movies fault. The five years on the shelf have not been kind to it. The editing is Tony Scott influenced, the color correction tangerine to an exponential degree, and there are many many superbly uneffective strobes. And there are two moments that are just plain bad creative decisions. The first a kill much more sadistic, nastier and out and out skeezier than the tenor of the movie has earned (I like to call these Aja kills) where a girl who has just performed oral sex is killed by having a gun shoved down her throat. The other when the film’s one truly fine moment of real fear is promptly spoiled by some of the worst editing and shot sequencing I’ve ever seen in a feature film. Seriously. I would say the editor should be sent back to filmschool, but that’s not enough. Someone should cut off one of their fingers. Just one. So that way when they look down at the stub they willl remember not to fuck up eerie silent long shots of despair, with jokey cutaways and continuity raping transitions.
We’re left with the fact that All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is neither a suppressed masterpiece or a disaster. It’s just a pretty good flick that makes some missteps. Whose creators apparently wished for a green light on the monkey’s paw. Put it on the back half of a double bill with Scream 4 and it will do quite nicely. Then again I liked Scream 4 so your mileage may vary.
(Now that it’s mentioned it presages Scream 4 twist quite nicely. If somewhat suspectly. The Weinsteins have been known to recycle before and I wonder…)