All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (Blu-ray Review)

All-The-Boys-Love-Mandy-LaneFinally, United States, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is arriving on Blu-ray.  This film was completed and screened 2006.  It received some good acclaim and high praise from horror fans.  However, what followed was 7 years full of distribution hell.  Nobody knew what was going on and when it would finally come out.  Recently You’re Next was a film that was bought and took a while to come out, but that was only 2 years of waiting.  It’s a unique slasher film from Jonathan Levine who recently struck a big hit with this year’s Warm Bodies.  It’s also an early role for Amber Heard, who exudes her star quality and potential at this young stage.  It’s a fun film delivering on a wave of horror, teen comedy, blood and camp.

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 Mandy Lane was an outsider girl who after one summer blossomed into the most beautiful girl in school.  Dragging more attention from the popular crowd she is invited to one of their parties and drags her best friend Emmet along.  A drunken accident there leads to the death of one of popular kids.  Flash to about a year later.  Emmet and Mandy are no longer friends and she’s invited to go to a weekend of debauchery in the boonies with a bunch of popular kids, including 3 guys competing to score with her.  During their weekend, they start to die off one by one…oh…haha you’ve heard this before?

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a really “fun” slasher movie that embraces the genre, twists it and in the end leaves a mark of its own.  It’s a film that isn’t embarrassed to be in the genre it is.  The film will have you laughing at the characters’ mean-spirited dialogue toward each other and chucking at some of the camp it brings.  The film is also able to switch tones to fill some scenes with a sense of unease and dread a few times.  There’s only one kill that has a painful graphic kill, but the rest of tactfully shot that some might think they’re experience more grotesque murders than they actually are.  For the most part, the deaths in the film a very tame.

In an interesting twist with this review, I watched the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre before viewing this movie.  Within moments I had my thumb on it that this film HAD to have been shot in Texas (it was).  And then I also noticed what an inspiration that film’s cinematography had on Mandy Lane (the director cites it in his commentary even).  It’s a modern film through and through, but shot with a look and edited like a 70s low budget horror film.  Some of the scenes are a bit aggressive with whether they are warm or cold, which is an interesting choice at times.  But for the most part there’s an absolute talent behind the camera.  The nail some atmospheric setups and really know how to place and move the camera in scenes.  It’s no wonder director Jonathan Levine is continuing to move up the ranks.  He had a real eye and full realized idea with how he wanted this movie to look and play.

One of the biggest factors in getting this film to work is that of the lead actress.  And damn, does Amber Heard pull it off.  She emits an incredible star quality in this film.  She exudes exactly why guys would jump off a roof for her.  And it’s not in some slutty revealing way.  Amber just kills in this role.  Maybe you got to see it to believe it.  But if she doesn’t work, this movie fails.  And she hits it in spades.  Another nod goes to Anson Mount as he pulls of a very Michael Shannon-esque performance.  He’s a great authority figure and red herring in the mix of the plot.  Without even speaking the guy is able to give you a sense that he’s a bit messed up.  The rest of the kids are pretty fun too, but its Amber’s show and you just can’t get enough of her when she’s on screen.

I’m not going to talk spoilers, but the film has some nice twists and turns and takes the slasher genre in its own direction.  While it’s a 2006 film just being seen now, there’s nothing here to really date the thing.  This is my second time viewing the film (it was available in other territories for many years before this release) and my fondness for it grew even more.  Since it’s got a legendary tale of distribution hell, you kinda have to check out what this is all about.  Its not a film that’s going frighten you or give you nightmares, but if you’re a fan of slashers it does offer something newer and maybe fresh for you to enjoy.

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 The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding overall looks really good, but suffers in some areas likely due to some problems with the master.  Mandy Lane is purposely shot to look and feel like a vintage 70s film melded with a very modern look.  The 2:39.1 frame is pretty impressive, but for those unfamiliar with the aesthetic it may not gel with them.  Detail runs above average.  There’s a nice layer of intentional grain that helps the feel of the picture.  The film is varies between looking very warm and very cold lighting, so it can have a very vibrant feel to it.  The image is very sharp and crisp.  It’s a good picture that overcomes some of the issues and challenges brought from the source.

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 Exploding into your home theater is the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track.  It’s set at a nice loud level.  Early on in the film the effects and dialogue feel very front heavy, but after the intro scene it sort flushes out.  The score and songs within the film consume you really well without drowning out any focus going on the screen.  There are plenty of shotgun and rife shots in the film and they do not disappoint.  There’s a nice boom to them.  It’s a lively atmospheric track that definitely compliments the feature.  You’ll have fun with some jolts and some fun interplay between speakers.

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This film has been on wishlists and been demanded from horror fans for a US release for 7 years now.  Once it was announced it was finally getting a Blu-ray release, it suddenly became on the top of many collector’s “Must Have’ lists.  Personally, I’m not a big extras junkie, I’ll survive.  The fact that this hotly anticipated movie is coming with just a commentary track is very underwhelming.  This release is damn near bare bones.  It seems they are just doing the minimal to get it released.  Not even a trailer included.

Feature Commentary With Director Jonathan Levine – The director admits he’s not seen the film in 7 years.  He’s got a pretty good and fresh memory still with the film.  However he jumps around a bit and starts to tell something changes topics mid thought which can get a little challenging.  Something interesting I’ve not seen before on a disc is that when you choose the commentary a window pops up with the Commentary Disclaimer and you have to choose to “Proceed” to listening to it.

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The lack of extras for this much anticipated film is a bit disconcerting.  However the presentation is good enough and there is an informative commentary that has some laughs and such.  Its presentation is above average.  On top of it all, it’s recommendable based on the quality of the film.  It’s a slasher film that has no shame in being what it is.  There are no post-modern, self aware Scream-generation characters to annoy you with.  It also deserves credit for being a slasher and also trying to take the concept in its own favor. With years and years of waiting, this film is probably destined to be unfairly over-hyped when people finally get to it now.  I didn’t have to wait 7 years when I had first seen it, but it was hyped for me then and I still enjoyed it.  Hopefully fresh eyes will too when this drops.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    While I’m a huge Amber Heard fan, I’m sorry I cannot get behind this film at all. I’m glad you enjoy it and now have it in your collection. There was just nothing in it for me. For the same reasons I dislike Criminal Minds, I dislike Mandy Lane. That’s all I will say. However, it’s a nice in-depth writeup above. Thanks!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Really liked a lot of things about this film and hope to double-feature it with You’Re Next at some point for various reasons!

  3. Gerard Iribe

    I still need to watch my import copy!