All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a horror genre film vastly better than its lesser PG-13 brethren that were deemed worthy of a theatrical release. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is no copy-cat film or an uninspired remake. This is a horror film that lulls you, one of surprises. The main character Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), is the “it girl” in her high school. She has looks, athleticism, is a junior and has never had a boyfriend. Mandy is seen as pure, untouched and is sought after by the boys in her high school and envied by the majority of the girls. Mandy is nice to everyone, even the guys that hit on her and try to touch her. That’s just her nature and the way she is. It also serves to make Mandy that much more attractive, the same way Sarah Reeves (Jennifer Love Hewitt)’ allure was enhanced by her kind nature on television’s Party of Five.
After two deaths, one involving a boy (Adam Powell) seeking to garner Mandy’s affection and the second, the end of an unlikely friendship with another boy named Emmet (Michael Welch), Mandy goes to a getaway with some new “friends” from school. This is the period of time where we briefly get to know the main characters in the film, a fault in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane but a strength for a horror movie like Wolf Creek. In that film, there is a lengthy character introductory period, giving the viewer time to get to know the characters before the blood-letting begins. This does not happen in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and it is unfortunate because there is no resonance to the deaths that begin occurring. The viewer doesn’t care for or like the people (beyond the superficial) being killed (true of most horror movies though), so their deaths don’t matter.
Even though the targets of the death-dealer are inconsequential, the identity of the killer isn’t. It is very entertaining to see a killer in a horror movie end life with happiness in their voice and glee in their eyes. The kills themselves are effective as well. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane would be relegated to the ranks of an average slasher / horror movie if it were not for its third act. I can honestly say I didn’t see what happens coming. As I said early, I was lulled and I am quite happy that I was because it is damn rare in horror films these days. This part of the film also benefited from a rather strong performance by newcomer Heard whose Mandy was virtually a wallflower and a object of desire up to this point. Anyone that has seen Rest Stop knows that neophytes to the acting profession sometimes have trouble with displaying believability and finding their center while not over-acting traumatic circumstances. Heard seems as if she has been acting for years, bringing to mind Drew Barrymore from Scream.
Jonathan Levine’s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a good slasher movie that becomes great in its third act. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a horror film not satisfied with plot complacency but rather one that strives for and succeeds at being a little different.