Quint is told that ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE, but does he? SXSW review of the slasher flick here!!
Published at: March 11, 2007, 3:26 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with one more from SXSW, the local slasher ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE. I saw 3 more movies today than I reviewed, but they really blew and I don't want to kick an indie. What's the point? Good on them if their crap gets picked up. Then I'll review it.
But I did want to talk about this film before catching some shut eye, which is going to be reduced by an hour thanks to daylight savings time. Thanks for the move, Congress.
This is one of those movies that was hyped up to me as being a return to '80s slasher glory, which are words that set the bar pretty damn high for me. It shot just outside of Austin and I've heard little mumblings from friends that were on the production, but nothing specific. It was just one of those little Austin movies and the film community in Austin is pretty inbred. Everybody knows everybody.
I was very excited to be able to see the flick. I was worried that I'd be out in Vegas when it played, but luckily the one screening fell in the half of the fest I am able to attend.
This is a difficult one to write. It's a small movie, picked up by the Weinstein Co. for release later this year, but it's one of those small movies where the budget can't help but influence your opinion. If this movie had cost $5 million, I'd be a little harsher on it, but word around the campfire is it was well under $1 million. For a movie of that range, what they achieved is commendable and pretty damn jaw-dropping.
The flick is about that one girl in high school who is unattainable, no matter if you're a jock, stoner, cool kid or geek. Of course, the titular Mandy Lane (the aptly cast beauty, Amber Heard) is such a girl and she is invited to join some of the popular kids to a weekend of fun and debauchery on the stoner's ranch. Of course, they aren't alone.
The slasher isn't very iconic, but they don't really play up the iconic slasher and the identity isn't a mystery for very long. By going that route, they eliminate the need for a mask.
Young filmmaker, Jonathan Levine, cast a great bunch of young actors and writer Jacob Forman's main talent was fleshing out some pretty standard archetypes (popular, bitchy slut, horny jock, nerdy stoner, brooding, but popular asshole, etc) into somewhat fresh characters.
The cinematography is also outstanding, not to mention the title design. The opening logo is great, really sets the blood-splattered mood.
I was a little distracted by the Vern trademarked "Avid Farts." I don't know why young horror filmmakers today think horror means washed-out colors, freeze-frames and jerky fast-forwards/rewinds. That is not scary and if I had it my way I'd remove all evidence of it before it sees the light of day. They shot it to look like an '80s slasher, feel like an '80s slasher... so why inject modern horror style, especially bad modern horror style?
Gore-wise, the flick has some good moments. I won't spoil them here, but there's a particularly good one after some oral fun with the horny chick and brooding asshole characters.
The end of the flick is also troublesome in a HAUTE TENSION way. There comes a point where everything that they worked so hard to slowly build up just kind of unravels. Like HAUTE TENSION, they do something that is interesting in theory, but in execution... didn't quite work.
Everything considered, it is a valiant low-budget effort and one that definitely deserves to be seen on the big screen whenever the Weinsteins release, likely Fall. It's certainly better than the vast majority of the genre sequels/remakes that studios pump out by the dozen now. Flawed, a little slow to start, but it's an interesting original story, so it's fresh almost by default.