All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
|All the Boys Love Mandy Lane|
|Directed by||Jonathan Levine|
|Written by||Jacob Forman|
|Music by||Mark Schulz|
|Edited by||Josh Noyes|
Optimum Releasing (UK)
|Box office||$1,893,697 (Foreign)|
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a 2006 American slasher film directed by Jonathan Levine, and starring Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Whitney Able and Anson Mount. The plot centers on a group of rich populars who invite an outsider, Mandy Lane, who developed into a "hot chick" over the summer, to spend the weekend at a secluded ranch house because the boys in their group want to "get with her".
Originally completed in 2006, the film premiered at a number of film festivals throughout 2006 and 2007, including the Toronto Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, South by Southwest, and London FrightFest Film Festival. It received a theatrical release in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2008. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane received extremely divided reviews from critics, with some dismissing the film as "bogus and compromised", and others praising its "grindhouse" aesthetic and likening its cinematography to the early work of Terrence Malick and Tobe Hooper.
Despite its international attention, the film went unreleased in the United States for over seven years after it was completed; this was due to complications with its distributor, Senator Entertainment, who went bankrupt shortly after purchasing the film from The Weinstein Company. On March 8, 2013, it was announced that The Weinstein Company had re-acquired the rights to theatrically release the film in the United States. The film became available through video on demand in September 2013, and was given a limited release on October 11, 2013, through a joint contract between Senator Entertainment and Weinstein's subsidiary label RADiUS-TWC.
|This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2014)|
At a Texas high school, Mandy Lane is an outsider who becomes a "hot chick" over the summer. She starts getting a great deal of attention from her male classmates. One of those classmates, Dylan, invites Mandy to a pool party at his house and she accepts with the provision that her best friend, Emmet (another outsider and bullying victim), can come along with her.
At the party, Dylan makes passes at Mandy and puts his hand on Mandy's thigh. Emmet sprays Dylan with a supersoaker. Dylan attacks Emmett, throws him into the pool, and holds his head under water until Mandy intercedes. Emmet retreats to a roof overlooking the pool. Dylan comes to get him down but Emmet tricks him into jumping from the roof into the pool. When Dylan jumps he hits his head on cement and dies.
Nine months later, popular stoner Red is having a small party at his father's cattle ranch and has invited Mandy along. She obtains permission from her aunt and agrees to go. Since Dylan's death, she has been befriended by many of Dylan's friends. Conversely, Emmet has been almost completely ostracized and is subjected to even more intense bullying.
When they arrive at the ranch, Chloe refuses to drive her car over the cattle grid and so, with a shortage of seats in the car still being used, Mandy and Bird elect to walk to the ranch. While walking, Bird tries to prove he is a "gentleman", but before he can do more than kiss Mandy's cheek, he is interrupted by Garth, the ranch hand, who drives Mandy and Bird the rest of the way to the ranch.
The kids go swimming in a nearby lake, then return to the house to drink and play games. After a disparaging remark, Jake walks out, followed by Marlin. They stop in a cattle shed where they engage in oral sex. Jake leaves after an argument. When Jake is far from the shed, Marlin gets knocked out with the butt of a double-barrel shotgun by a hooded figure. Marlin awakens to find the double-barrel shotgun rammed down her throat, almost killing her and breaking her jaw.
When Jake returns to the house, the power goes out. The group separates: Red goes to help Chloe who is upstairs alone, Bird goes out to start the generator, and Mandy starts lighting candles in the kitchen. Mandy is confronted by Jake, who confesses to turning off the power in order to spend time alone with her; when he tries to kiss her, she refuses, and he storms out. The power comes back on.
Jake goes looking for Marlin after being rejected by both Mandy and Chloe, and takes Red's car and gun. Jake drives around in the darkness and eventually finds Marlin sitting by the lake. Just as he realizes she is injured he is pushed into the lake and then shot in the head; the hooded killer, who is revealed to be Emmet, then breaks Marlin's neck with the butt of the shotgun.
Soon after, Bird, Mandy, Red and Chloe are joined by Garth at the house after a stranger in Red's car fires fireworks at them on the porch. Bird chases after the car, believing that Jake is the driver, but encounters Emmet. During their fight, Emmet blinds Bird by slashing him across his eyes and stabs him to death. At the ranch, Mandy falls asleep in the kitchen, and Red and Chloe fall asleep on the couch.
In the morning, Emmet enters the house and approaches the sleeping Mandy, stroking her hair. Garth hears noise in the kitchen and suspects someone is in the house, but upon rushing downstairs finds Mandy still asleep with blood on her hair; "wake up" is spelled out in bloody alphabet magnets on the refrigerator. Garth and Mandy realize that they need to leave and go to wake up Red and Chloe.
As they open the door to leave, Emmet shoots Garth. Red and Chloe escape out the back door of the house and run to Chloe's car, where they discover the bodies of Jake and Marlin dangling from a barbed-wire fence. Distraught, Chloe and Red kiss one another, when Red is shot from afar; paralyzed, he is killed off-screen by Emmet. Chloe flees, heading back to the ranch, and finds Bird's body in the hay fields. As she runs, she is chased by Emmet, who is driving her car.
Meanwhile, Mandy retrieves the keys to Garth's Bronco and finds the knife that Emmet used to kill Bird. She sees Chloe running towards the ranch, screaming, pursued by Emmet. Chloe runs to Mandy, but upon embracing her, Mandy stabs her in the stomach. While Chloe bleeds to death, Emmet and Mandy discuss their suicide pact; Mandy will take pills before shooting Emmet in the heart. Mandy then refuses, never having intended to kill herself. She and Emmet get into an argument and begin fighting. Garth hears Mandy yell for help and shoots Emmet, who attacks him.
Mandy runs into the fields, chased by Emmet, and falls into a ditch full of cattle carcasses, where the two fight. Mandy eventually gets hold of Emmet's machete, and hacks him to death. She then helps the wounded Garth into his Bronco. They drive away, and Garth thanks Mandy for saving him, assuming her to be a victim in Emmet's murder plot.
A flashback then shows the group back at a railroad track, where they took a break from their drive. They are all goofing off, and Mandy is seen balancing on the tracks, watching her future victims.
Cast and characters
- Amber Heard as Mandy Lane, a shy and pensive teenager at her rural Texas high school. She is both a shy misfit and a popular outsider, who keeps distance from her peers, particularly the males who find her an object of extreme sexual desire; the exception is her best friend, Emmet. Mandy's parents died during her childhood. In conceiving her character, Heard stated that Mandy Lane "[represents] many, many real girls. Many real teenagers, especially in America. There are a lot of incidents of this kind of violence in school with the perpetrators being cute teenagers against their classmates. Their victims are their classmates and they're often their bullies.... [Mandy]'s a great representation of all those girls who are insecure and uncomfortable with their sexuality and their power and yet they're strangely intrigued by it and tempted by it."
- Michael Welch as Emmet, Mandy's best friend who also harbors romantic feelings for her, but, unlike his male counterparts, conceals them. His argument with Dylan in the beginning of the film, which ends with him convincing Dylan to jump from the roof to impress Mandy, resulting in his death— puts a rift between himself and Mandy. Their peers lay blame on Emmet for Dylan's death, and he becomes ostracized by the high school, while Mandy is embraced by his popular oppressors. His ostracization and eventual perpetration of the murders led several critics to draw comparisons to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers responsible for the Columbine massacre. A notable similarity is that in one scene he is portrayed to be wearing a shirt similar to that worn by Eric Harris on the day of the massacre.
- Anson Mount as Garth, the ranch hand at Red's parents' cattle ranch where the teenagers carry out their weekend party. He is years older than them, and the females, particularly Chloe and Marlin, are voraciously attracted to him; it is revealed that he is a war veteran, and that his wife had died before he obtained his job at the ranch. Garth's role is to oversee the property, and his presence is that of a parental figure, as well as an object of affection for the girls, much like Mandy is to the boys.
- Whitney Able as Chloe, a popular student; a talkative and carefree party girl who exemplifies the stereotypical "airheaded blonde". Chloe expresses extreme insecurity issues as well as body image problems, and continuously belittles her friend Marlin, and asserts Mandy Lane's superior beauty over both of them.
- Edwin Hodge as Bird, also a member of the high school's select popular elite, is slightly more reserved, and thus more perceptive to Mandy Lane's quiet and fleeting nature. He warns her prior to the party that all the boys there invited her for the sole purpose of trying to bed her, and insists that he's "not like that".
- Aaron Himelstein as Red, the funny and overall nice guy of the popular group, and the one whose family's ranch house the festivities take place at. In the beginning of the film, he gives a brief monologue educating the underclassmen about Mandy Lane and the failed attempts from multiple boys to sleep with her; while astutely aware of Mandy Lane's sexuality, Red is not overtly aggressive or flirtatious toward Mandy. He also makes his best attempts to maintain peace in the group, which is evident when a fight breaks out concerning Jake.
- Luke Grimes as Jake, a hot-headed and overtly sexual teenager who is the most forward in his pursuit of Mandy Lane, although all of his attempts at wooing her are either ignored or received with disgust or silent ambivalence. Jake also makes sexual advances on Chloe.
- Melissa Price as Marlin, Jake's girlfriend and Chloe's best friend who is constantly belittled and criticized by the insecure Chloe. Throughout the film, Chloe makes jokes about Marlin being "fat", and the jokes are only reinforced for Marlin after Jake refuses to have sex with her after she performs oral sex on him.
The film had initially been conceived in 2003 when writer Jacob Forman, producer Chad Feehan, and production designer Tom Hammock were all students at the American Film Institute. "I actually started it as my thesis at AFI," Feehan told Twitch Film. "The writer, Jacob Forman and the production designer Tom Hammock and I did it as our thesis together at AFI. We started working on it in 2003, then graduated and got it financed and were able to hire our friends that we graduated with to make the movie. It was obviously quite a journey from 2003 to 2006 when we sold it to the Weinstein Company, and after that it's been pretty trying."
Levine later told the Austin Chronicle that he and screenwriter Jacob Forman had drawn inspiration from Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) as well as the NBC television series Friday Night Lights and John Hughes films. According to Levine, he and cinematography Darren Genet had also drawn inspiration from The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Dazed and Confused (1993) when developing the film's depiction of teenagers.
Lead performer Amber Heard said that when she received the script for the film in Los Angeles, she felt it was noticeably "different". In an interview, she said, "There are so many [scripts] you get where it feels like you're reading the same girl over and over again. And then I read this script and I thought it was truly different and that it could be done well. This was a movie that was really under the radar; no one was really talking about it. It didn't have much money and subsequently it didn't get much attention right off the bat."
Principal photography began on location in Austin, Texas, and nearby Bastrop in 2006, on a budget of $750,000. According to Amber Heard, she spent little time with the rest of the cast when filming wasn't taking place in order to maintain a distance necessary to her character. She also said that the shoot was very low-maintenance, saying, "Everyone has these expectations, whether they're subconscious or not, of the glamour and how much fun that you can have in L.A. and I went with those same expectations. This was my first shoot, my first leading role. I fly to my hometown, funnily enough, to film and I stand out in this field waiting for my hair and make-up. Instead of the chair, instead of the lights, I stand in the middle of a field and have, literally, a bucket of freshly-dug mud dumped on my head."
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, followed by screenings at the Sitges Film Festival, South by Southwest, London FrightFest Film Festival, the IFI Horrorthon, at the French Cinemathèque.
The film was originally supposed to be released in 2007 by The Weinstein Company (via their Dimension Films label), but due to the failure of Grindhouse, among other horror films, the Weinstein Company sold the film to Senator Entertainment US. Senator, who at the time was setting up their own distribution company, later went out of business, and the film was held in limbo with other unreleased projects. In 2008, the film was screened at the Gérardmer Film Festival, Lyon L'Étrange Festival, and the Fantasia Film Festival, and received a theatrical release in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2008.
At Comic-Con 2010, director Levine and star Heard appeared for a screening of the film, and said that a North American release was finally forthcoming, though they did not say when or who would be handling the release. In June 2013, it was announced that the film would be released on demand on September 6 and in theaters October 11, 2013 in the United States— over seven years after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film received mixed reviews upon its initial festival screenings and subsequent European theatrical release in 2008; it currently holds a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a consensus that states: "Mandy Lane has enough wit and craft to spark the horror fans' interest, but is not sufficiently original for mainstream audiences." On Metacritic, the film received a 44/100 rating, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It received a positive review from The Globe and Mail, who wrote that it "displays an intelligence lacking in most teen slasher pics", and Film Threat called the film "a well-shot, [...] semi-cerebral horror film." eFilmCritic wrote that the film's writing of its titular character is flawed, but it "evokes the rich landscapes of early Terrence Malick and the grimy grindhouse tales of the ‘70s, converging poetically into its heartmashing climax. This is a film where the blood and carnage doesn’t feel like corn syrup or CGI and each death grows in sadness, not quality." Bloody Disgusting called it "a solid entry into the slasher genre and a pretty damn good teen thriller too boot." Other critics gave the film less flattering reviews, with The Guardian calling it "bogus and compromised: an unreconstructed horror romp in the guise of a nerdish intellectual." Slant Magazine said the film "flaunts its knowledge of classic genre fundamentals but fails to do anything very clever or surprising with them," and later compared its cinematography and aesthetic mood to The Virgin Suicides (1999).
The film continued to receive mixed reviews upon its theatrical release in the United States in October 2013. The New York Times praised the film, noting that "cinematographer Darren Genet draws from long shots of pursuits and a vaguely 1970s look, which wasn’t cutting-edge during the film’s making but suits the real-time nostalgia of high school activities, even murderous ones," and Scott Weinberg of FEARnet said the film "[brings] a quietly artistic taste of teen-aged sexual politics to a subgenre that's generally disinterested in anything resembling brains, wit, or subtext." The Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review as well, calling it "a small, tightly coiled spellbinder," and praised Heard's performance, referring to it as her most "definitive [performance] to date."
The New York Post gave the film a less favorable review, calling it "A slightly artsy attempt to revive the teen slasher movie [that] drifts awkwardly between popcorn entertainment and angsty mood piece." Christy Lemire of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "[With the opening scene], Levine promisingly sets a dark and disturbing tone. But the vast majority of the film, which takes place nine months later, is a rather standard depiction of the bad kids trying to corrupt the last American virgin." Lemire also commented on the film's delayed release history, stating: "Its attempts at examining and subverting the well-worn conventions of the genre in the script from Jacob Forman might have seemed more novel seven years ago. But by now we've seen this approach executed much more effectively—and thrillingly." The Washington Post, however, praised the film's acting and thematics, writing: "Thoughtful viewers may detect thematic whiffs of Columbine, blended with "Carrie," that darken and complicate the film’s aroma of stale blood. Thoughtful viewers? What kind of teen slasher movie is this? Too dumb for the arthouse, but too smart for the mall multiplex, the movie satisfies, paradoxically, precisely because it doesn’t deliver on expectations."
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane received a release on Blu-ray and DVD in Region 2 format in 2008. It is scheduled for a North American Blu-ray and DVD release in Region 1 format on December 3, 2013 through Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Although an official soundtrack was not released, the film features the following songs:
- "In Anticipation of Your Suicide" by Bedroom Walls
- "84" by Nude
- "Slowly, Just Breathe" by Dead Waves
- "Good Day" by Kunek
- "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go-Go's
- "Thin Air" by Brian Jennings
- "Sister Golden Hair" by Gerry Beckley, covered by Juliette Commagere
- "Do Ya" by Peaches
- "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Second Movement" by Ludwig van Beethoven
- "Oh Molly Dear" by B. F. Shelton
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- ^ Optimum Releasing was only distributor in the United Kingdom, but it is uncertain that Optimum is the official distributor of the film even though it was filmed in America.
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- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (DVD). Dimension Films. 2013. Film's end credits list full soundtrack information.
- Official website (US)
- Official website (UK)
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at the Internet Movie Database
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at Box Office Mojo
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at Rotten Tomatoes
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at Metacritic
- Official MySpace