Wednesday, July 2, 2008

handy bendy mandy.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006).
Dir: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Whitney Able, Aaron Himelstein, Melissa Price, Luke Grimes, Anson Mount and Edwin Hodge.

"Since the dawn of Junior year, men have tried to possess her ... and failed."


Blonde haired, blue eyed professional virgin (with a very local nose) Mandy (Heard) is the most lusted after girl in high school. Every boys dream, she's athletic, friend to geeks and jocks alike and kind to loners and animals, even going so far as to be bezzie buds with the spotty, bowl haired uber-emo Emmet (Welch looking like a young Nathan Fillion only slightly less southern).

Wild haired wide boy and full time token rich Jewish boy Red (Himelstein) helpfully explains to his pals (and us) that all the boys do, in fact, love Mandy Lane.

Glad that's sorted then.

Later that evening at the token jock-boy's pool party (alas no Aquabats live set tho') everything seems to be going swimmingly until Emmet persuades the muscled lunk to throw himself off the roof to impress Mandy.


Fast forward nine months and Mandy (now with and added haunted charm) is no longer friends with Emmet, chosing to spend her time with the aforementioned Red, bad-boy Deppalike Jake (Grimes), the pill poppin' shaky as fuck blonde Chloe (Able), weight obsessed Marlin (Price) and the hunktastically polite black athlete, Bird (Hodge).

The group are planning a fun weekend away on Red's family ranch (told you he was rich), Mandy is excited about her first sleepover with her new friends but the guys are more excited about who will be the first to 'pop her cherry' as they say.

But a mysterious interloper is determined to make their weekend to remember a bloody nightmare to dismember....

The Famous Five decided to change their staid
image by replacing Timmy the dog
with a pig in knickers
(you can decide which).

After sitting on the shelf longer than the really ugly geek boy at a school disco (and believe me I should know) director Jonathan Levine's love letter to 'old skool' seventies slasher pics has finally surfaced from it's (Dimension Films induced) limbo hell.

And gosh was it worth the wait.

After months of hyped yet ultimately disappointing horror fayre (yes I mean you Teeth and Outpost) being thrust upon us like a never ending parade of lust hungry whores it's fantastic (and a tad surprising) to finally find one that delivers on it's promise of thrills, chills and buckets of blood.

Beware the tiny digits of Jimmy Krankie...

Levine, alongside writer Jacob Foreman have crafted an intelligent, beautifully told (and downright nasty in places) tale of teen angst, peer pressure and mental murderers that slashes and dices it's way to the top of the corpse ridden pile that is the modern horror film.

Exquisitely shot in a burnt out bleak style reminiscent of, but never aping the gritty realism of Tobe Hooper's original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mandy Lane delivers so much more than it's (frankly crass) 'Friday the 13th meets The O.C.' tagline could ever suggest. Sitting down to view the movie after hearing promising bits and bobs online for the last year or so (and expecting a fairly painless, plot free, teen friendly slasher at worst something as dire as the abominable Scream) it soon became apparent that a gem of a movie was unfolding before my eyes, Mandy Lane is a genuinely fresh and refreshingly non-ironic retro shocker that has no more complicated an agenda than to deliver ninety minutes of cool bloody mayhem to it's audience.

And frankly, what more could you ask for?

Mandy failed to notice the mutated, flesh
eating Rolo's slowly lumbering toward her.

The young cast cast are uniformly excellent and Anson Mount as Gulf War vet and hang dog handyman Garth, brings an old fashioned charm to his role reminiscent of Charles Cyphers nice guy Sheriff Brackett in the original Halloween (which is praise enough for any actor really).

"Hands on mah cheeks!"

As scary a thought it is, it's actually quite nice in this day and age that someone can come along and make a pretty good slasher movie, the least we can do is make the time to watch it.

You may be pleasantly surprised.

Well, either that or think my minds gone after viewing Sadomaster and Porno Holocaust back to back.

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