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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE


STATS:
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
Unreleased
Directed by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50)
Starring Amber Heard, Anson Mount, a kid from Twilight


WHA’ HAPPENED?
Mandy Lane
and a group of friends engage in all sorts of illegal activities at a secluded ranch house. Of course, they start getting picked off one-by-one. Could it be connected to the accidental death of their friend nine months earlier? Is there some dark secret involving our title vixen and the power she holds over all the men in the film? Is there a bad-ass twist ending? Yes, yes, and hell yes.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
An infamously unreleased horror gem from 2007, this movie has been on my list of movies to see since I saw its first trailer years ago. The trailer was so good, in fact, that I would go to Youtube and rewatch it every few months. Well, the last time I did, I saw that the movie itself had sneaked onto the internet. Needless to say, I was there!

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Yes. One of the teens is particularly James Dean-y. But why do the cutest ones get murdered first?


BLOOD AND GUTS:
The film maintains its off-kilter, indie tone throughout, slowly doling out sudden, jarring death scenes to keep us on our toes. My favorite involves a knife slash to the eyes. There isn’t a lot of gore in the movie (about half the murdered kids get shot), but there’s certainly enough caked on blood by the end to make this film feel grimy and grindhousey. And did I mention a knife slash to the eyes?


OK. IS IT GAY?
There are possible lesbian undertones about halfway through. In a lesser movie, this would seem exploitative. In this movie, though, it added another layer to our enigmatic teen, coloring the ending in an interesting new light.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I loved this movie. It has the bare bones of a slasher film, but it’s all gussied up and dressed in indie clothes. The music is pure post-Wes-Anderson melancholy, the cinematography is low budget and beautiful, and the plot moseys along in such an unexpected and rambling way.

The non-death-scenes don’t feel obligatory. Instead, they’re filled with little character moments that make even the unlikable characters seem genuine. The bitchy blonde girl, for example, has a wordless scene where she takes off her stuffed bra and gives herself a long, sad look in the mirror. See? Even the nude scenes have something to say about each character.

While I wouldn’t say I was ever truly afraid during this film, I was always enthralled. Some of the best films can have some slow patches, and while this film is often slow, it never feels that way. It’s the kind of movie that sucks you into its groove and carries you along till the end.

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