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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a strange beast of a movie all right. Well, put it this way, it all sounds standard horror fare, hot teenage girl goes on holiday with teenagers, who get drunk, stoned and do just about everything their mothers don't want to know about, when it, quite literally, all goes tits up as someone begins topping them off. I enjoyed this film, I mean, it’s certainly no masterpiece, but by god it is one of the few (in this day and age) intelligent gory horror films. It is very wise in certain respects, in which the director, who is armed with a handy screenplay, shoots it like standard horror fare, but takes us unaware and draws us on, making us consider it predictable, then taking us completely off guard in the closing ten minutes of the film. Director Jonathan Levine drives us down what we think is predictability, but clearly makes the weather foggy, dimming out the real just of the story. He wisely waits until as late as is possible into the film until the big reveal. Then we realise we have been duped. The screenplay works in similar fashion, developing stereotypical characters. However, in developing stereotypical characters, comes stereotypical performances. Of all the characters in the film, the only one who is not a stock character is the eponymous Mandy Lane, and even then Amber Heard's performance is more about the frills than thrills. For example, Whitney Able as Chloe is a particularly bad performance in the film. Despite certain falterings in this respect, there is more about this film that can be commended. For example, I was particularly impressed at the films cinematography, which shows that you can make a very pretty, frilly movie for under a million dollars. In this film, most notably in the daylight scenes there are some pretty impressive shots. Also, in the right moments the film does go all grungy and Chainsaw Massacre whenever called upon in those particular moments in the story. Also, another thing that should be commended is the fact that the soundtrack fits in very well in the required moments in the story, particularly in the ironic fashion. However, despite the fact that I do believe that it is in many ways an intelligent horror movie, there are a number of niggling flaws in the film. As mentioned earlier, the characters in the film, aside from Mandy Lane, are stock characters, given stock character performances. With the second-rate performances, we never really end up caring if certain characters live or die. Also, I believe that the screenwriter and director thought that because they had a neat twist and strong screenplay, they thought they could get away with scuppering the entire ending of the movie. The ending of this movie annoyed me. It went on five-ten minutes too long, and in my opinion, I believe that like In Bruges, though to a lesser degree, lost sense of where they were going, and quickly mashed together an ending which clearly could have done with some work. After being satisfied at being duped at the twist only minutes earlier, it was very disappointing for this satisfaction to be taken away by a below par ending. However, this is not to say I didn't enjoy the film. It certainly looks and sounds well, with great cinematography and a good soundtrack. Also, being intelligent enough to dupe the audience into its killer twist certainly gives it brownie points. However, I believe that the poor acting, which led to a lack of emotional empathy with the characters, disconnected the audience from the film, and that the lack of sense of direction towards the end near enough scuppered the entire film. Nonetheless, an above-average horror film certainly worth at least one viewing.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.8/10

On The Topic Of Mandy Lane

Watch Chloe closely. Are you sure it is just the boys who love Mandy Lane?

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