Within the span of one summer vacation, Mandy Lane would make a drastic metamorphosis from the girl that no one noticed to the hot girl that all the guys are dying to get with. Mandy has a good, steady head on her shoulders, and with all the temptations and advances that come from horny teenage boys and the pressures brought on by her peers, she has been able to remain pure when it comes to her sexuality. Every dude-bro in school would love to be the one who breaks through her proverbial chastity belt, but Mandy is far too smart to fall for any of their cheap lines and promises of love. With her newfound hotness Mandy quickly becomes accepted into the cool kids club, meaning, all the girls want to be friends with her, while all the boys want to bone her.
The plot to All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is simple with Mandy being invited out for a weekend of hard partying at some kid 's parent free ranch, where all of the guys are fully expecting to seal the deal with her. Looking forward to a fun weekend away, she accepts the invitation and joins the intimate - and only mildly stereotypical - group of teens. While there, things get off to a good start with some seriously hardcore partying, some seriously pathetic attempts at boning Mandy and some seriously sick person knocking off the teens, one by one. As I said, simple, but there are a few twists and turns to be found throughout the story, though, I didn't find them all too difficult to figure out and had my correct guess by the 40-minute mark.
Regardless of predictability, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a tale told properly through its execution and craftsmanship. It's often referred to as - and very much is - a Slasher film at its core, but it lacks the stalk and slash elements of a traditional Slasher as well as the tension that comes with what one would expect from the genre. The kills are a little light, and outside of one wonderfully phallic inspired death (go booyah), they aren't all too gruesome, either. Lacking those elements doesn't really hurt the film too much, as those tactics aren't necessary for this particular story to work. You basically have a teen driven story where the teenage characters aren't a detriment to the film. The movie is respectful to the viewers with characters that are nicely written and respectably acted by the young cast, which is always something to applaud in modern horror fare.
What really pushes All the Boys Love Mandy Lane up over the top is the character of Mandy Lane as played by Amber Heard. The entire film rests solely on the shoulders of this one character; from the film's title to its premise, the viewer has to be on board with the spell Mandy casts on those around her. For a girl like Heard, the looks part is not a problem whatsoever, but there is much more to this character than just her beauty. It's her presence; it's the way that she carries herself; it's that indescribable thing that makes someone attractive past their looks, and that is what this film grounds its feet in. Heard is able to bring this to the screen like very few actresses could have, but her performance and presence aren't the only reason for the aura the character has around her.
The way in which she is filmed plays an incredible part in how Mandy Lane, the character, comes off, which is as all the male characters in the movie see her. Director, Jonathan Levine, does an overall solid job on the film itself, but it is what he does with the character of Mandy Lane, specifically, that is fantastic. It's a perfect melding of cinematic technique and an actress with the right look and ability that really give this one a unique feel. There's one scene in particular that is one of the more titillating moments in the film, and it is no more than Mandy coyly taking off her shorts and tank top so she can jump into a lake for a swim. This scene is sexy because Heard looks amazing, that's a given, but it's how it's shot with the use of warm lens flairs, teasing camera angles and the soft music that collectively bring the moment to a whole different level of cinematic seduction.
Since its 2006 Toronto International Film Festival premier, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has been one of the most talked about horror films for as many good reasons as there are not so good reasons. Its lack of a U.S. release has been the subject of annoyance for many a genre fan (myself included), and rightfully so. There's really no reason not to have access to ANY film, whatsoever. Even with the recent promise that it's on its way to a DVD release in the U.S., in limbo it remains for the time being. And that is truly unfortunate as this is a film that could certainly be geared towards the same crowd as shit fluff like the Prom Night and The Stepfather (also featuring Heard) remakes, while getting support from most of the horror community. That my friend is a recipe for a horror flick that could be a major success. But for now, those of us in the know know enough to make sure we own a region free DVD player.