All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is one of those movies that is a victim of “the system”. For better or worse, whether you love or despise it and whether you think that the novel grim griminess created in 2006 is now a regular occurrence in 2013, a film with this much intrigue and hype does not deserve to sit on a shelf for seven years only seeing the light of day at a festival or limited screening here or there. People deserved to see it. The filmmakers deserved to have their day in the sun and now they can with current release out on Blu-ray, looking rather excellent and worth the wait (though maybe not the hype). Thanks to Radius TWC, a boutique label with a big release courtesy of the Weinsteins.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was bought from the Weinsteins some seven years ago by a distributor who went bankrupt. That put the movie’s release into a dreadful state of purgatory. It’s the kind of story that we’ve heard about time and time again with movies coming off the festival circuit. Potential financial success and wide audience appreciation for a rather solid horror or slasher movie stunted because the distro company fucked it up. Pick your story… whether nobody knew how to promote a movie or, as in the case of our dear Mandy Lane, the distro company went bankrupt, films can die even after they’re picked from the vine. Luckily for us that didn’t happen here and the Weinstein Company bought it back and brought it back to life. Say what you will about the Weinsteins, but I like ‘em. They gave me Grindhouse and they gave us a shot at Ms. Mandy Lane. Now that the history lesson is over, and let’s get to the review of this anticipated feature.
This movie has been available outside of the US for some time, so that means if you’re region free or are skilled in the crimes of piracy that you may have already enjoyed Mandy Lane. This was my first time watching it, and while I definitely found it entertaining, the story interesting, Amber Heard hot and the whole thing acted appropriately, I did fall victim to the overhype of the damn thing. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has been anticipated to death. It’s a solid movie with an interesting twist and some rather amusing kills, but it isn’t groundbreaking. It is a slasher movie. Less 80’s and more 90’s, but it seems to correct some of the fatal flaws of the late 90’s meta horror slasher pictures. It tries to leave an air of mystique behind who your killer/stalker might be for at least a part of the movie and beyond that, the true motivations of said individual. In that, you can at least enjoy the suspense and feel confident that your Nancy Drew efforts aren’t in vain.
That some folks espouse the “grindhouse” qualities of Mandy Lane and compare Jonathan Levine’s style to a Tobe Hooper is somewhat confusing to me. It’s good, but it’s not Tobe Hooper, and it’s rough and tumble, but it doesn’t feel nearly as naughty as the 42nd street fodder to which it is compared. It isn’t an exploitation classic though it does have some gory good moments with its share of skin. I may be biased given that we’ve seen quite a few retro grind pictures stir the pot since 2006 when Mandy Lane made her way to the screen, but even compared to some of the faux trashed film movies we’ve seen in the last ten years it hasn’t broken any ground.
What you have here is a an entertaining blood bath with a tremendous opening sequence that I found mostly comical (because I’m overtly a sick fuck and was bulled good and proper through high school). It’s good, but not great and it’s worth buying but not memorializing or holding high on a pedestal anymore than your favorite 80’s or 90’s B slasher favorite. It did make great use of its modest budget. It also would make a great pairing with movies that have come out since then. Perhaps a double feature with the exquisite You’re Next would do nicely. I say in my opening thoughts that it’s a victim of the system, but perhaps the hype surrounding it will help it sell it and it may find more fans than it would had it been released in its prime.