There's Something About Mandy
different. It still feels cliche with a storyline about a group of teenagers having a sex and drugs filled weekend at a remote ranch where they become victims of a crazed killer but it doesn't feel like a low budget movie. In fact "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" is quite a slick production with some clever camera techniques and some solid acting especially from Amber Heard who as the titular character Mandy Lane leads the movie nicely. But like so many teen slasher movies "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" has one screaming issue and it is down to the storyline and in particular a twist which causes a massive plot hole.
Summer holidays are over and Mandy Lane (Amber Heard - Zombieland) has become hot, something which doesn't go unnoticed by all the male students who can't keep their eyes off of her and lust after her especially as she is still a virgin. It's because of her sudden transformation into a babe which leads to her being invited to spend the weekend with friends Chloe, Marlin, Red, Bird and Jake at Red's parent's isolated ranch. With the guys planning a weekend of horny teen antics things go wrong when they start going missing one by one and before long they realise that there is a hooded killer at work.
From a storyline point of view "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" is one big cliche with its storyline which sees a group of teenagers head off to a remote ranch for a weekend of partying only to become victims of a killer. And it's not just the teen slasher genre that it draws upon as the various sexual encounters feel like they have been drawn from a teen sex comedy such as "Porky's" as we get hand jobs and blow jobs as well as scenes full of sex talk. But you have to say that it feels intentional, that writer Jacob Forman and director Jonathan Levine wanted to take a cliche teen slasher storyline and tried to make it more than just a typical low budget affair. And so as the storyline plays out you can guess what's coming, be it the deaths as the killer gets to work or the various sexual encounters but in a way it doesn't matter.
And the reason it doesn't matter is because "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" doesn't look cheap, there is a style to it which you don't usually see in the teen slasher genre. The use of faded colours, different camera angles and the mix of pacing going from snappy to slow causes you to want to watch. It's a case of you know what's coming next, you know that person who has gone out in the dark by themselves is going to die but you want to watch how Levine shows it and often it is in a surprisingly brutal way. In fact the level of violence when it comes to the deaths is no more than you would expect from a teen slasher movie but the way Levine goes about delivering it, with a sense of enjoyment on the part of the killer makes it feel so much more brutal than similar movies.
But here is the thing which spoils "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" and that is a twist, not the obvious ones where you guess long before the revelation who the killer is and why but one after that. It's impossible to explain but in that split moment, than one extra twist leaves a huge chasm of a plot hole which spoils what had up to then been a solid take on the teen slasher movie. Now of course "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" is just a teen slasher movie and to bemoan a plot hole seems infantile but it is also a movie which thanks to that plot hole causes you to question the motives and plans. If there was no plot hole you wouldn't need to question it and it would be just another teen slasher movie which does more right than wrong.
Aside from the annoyance of the plot hole you have to say the acting is a pleasant surprise because whilst we have various cliche characters in a bunch of horny teenagers they are more than just victims. Jonathan Levine establishes the various characters even when you know they are likely to die and it actually draws you into the storyline, you feel for Red whose parents Ranch they have crashed at because behind all the bull is a scared kid. But whilst these other characters are well acted it is Amber Heard as Mandy Lane who really leads the movie and does a very good job of it to. It does help that her character is not some willing bimbo and this adds to the mystery especially as it leads you to question why she would agree to go to the ranch for the weekend when she is not a typical party loving horny teenager.
What this all boils down to is that "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" is a pleasant surprise and manages to take a very cliche teen slasher storyline and make it decent by not being cheap. But it has one major problem one which if all you are interested in is scares won't bother you but it has one major plot hole which causes you to question the motives and plan of the killer. Never the less "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" works and is well worth a watch if you think that all teen slasher movies have become cheap and cheesy.