After sitting on a shelf for almost seven years director Jonathan Levine’s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) finally got a US limited theatrical release (and VOD release) late in 2013 before hitting DVD/BD. The film became very popular during its film festival run and even during its International release where the film has been available for several years. Now US audiences can finally see what all the fuss was about.
Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is one of the most popular girls at school not only because she’s one of the most attractive women but because she is also one of the only ones that won’t put out for every horny male at the school. Her only friend is Emmett (Michael Welch) but when the most popular male at school accidentally dies and it is his fault everything changes. Mandy and Emmett’s friendship goes south and she decides that she needs to hang out with new people.
Almost a year after the accident, Mandy decides to go with her new friends on a vacation where there will be a lot of drinking, smoking, and having fun. But this vacation will be anything but fun as each of Mandy’s friends start to die one by one and she must discover who or what it is before she becomes the next victim.
The film’s greatest feat is crafting teenagers who act like teenagers instead of caricatures despite being stereotypical characters. Written by Jacob Forman, the script spends a lot of time developing each of the characters before any real grisly murders start to happen so this never feels like your typical hack n’ slash movie. There are a lot of original ideas in this film especially in the third act when everything is turned on its head.
Coming so long after it was originally made some of the ideas may seem a little bit old school since some of them have been used in subsequent films but that does not diminish the fact that Levine’s film is still a very well-crafted debut feature from the man who would later helm The Wackness (2008), 50/50 (2011), and more recently Warm Bodies (2013).