Mere minutes into the 2006 horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, it’s clear all the boys really do love Mandy Lane. They love her so much they jump off roofs to get her attention. And who can blame them? Amber Heard, the actress playing Mandy Lane, is smoking hot. More famous today for her role in The Rum Diary and real life romance with co-star Johnny Depp, I love Heard because she is 406. Remember 406? She was Jesse Eisenberg’s hot neighbor in Zombieland. The point is, I get it. She’s hot and an apparent virgin, so everyone wants Mandy Lane. And that’s basically the premise of this film. Mandy Lane and several of her fellow high schoolers head to a ranch for the weekend. They engage in drinking, snorting pretty much anything, having sex and other debauchery. And the entire time, the boys try to woo Mandy Lane while someone kills each of the girls and boys off one by one.
Let me be clear in that this film is getting one point for Amber Heard being so hot. She plays the quiet, shy, hot girl pretty damn well and she engages the audience mildly. I gave it another point for its plotline and the potential it had. The concept of people killing for love isn’t new but it hasn’t been seen much in horror, that I can remember. Sure, people kill for revenge of loved ones all the time. But not often do they kill just to impress someone or because they love someone so much they’d do anything for them, even if that person wasn’t wronged in any real way. Aside from boys making grotesque comments and gestures about their plans for Mandy Lane, she’s never harmed, so this isn’t a revenge story. The kids she’s with aren’t exactly moral pillars, but they’re not criminals. The murders that happen in this movie are out of pure love for Mandy Lane which is kind of a cool story. And the third point is because some of the deaths in this film are pretty sweet. It’s tough to be original in horror, but this movie tossed in a few death sequences I won’t soon forget. One even involved a good dose of irony… how about that?
But the points stop there. One hot actress, a good idea and a couple of neat death sequences do not a great horror make. This movie is oddly slow for clocking in at 90 minutes and it’s full of cheesy music. At times I thought well, at least they aren’t shoving awkward dialogue into the film and relying on music instead, but it still felt awkward. The characters are all annoying and mind-numbing to watch. You won’t identify with any of them and you may not even identify with Mandy. Sure, she’s interesting, but she rarely speaks and her character development is non-existent. I know high school boys don’t need any other reason to love someone than a great rack, but I do. I wanted to know why I should love Mandy Lane; I wanted a better reason than her appearance. And that great idea of someone killing for love? It fizzles out due to a lack of dialogue and character development. The ending of this movie is a little weird and then it turns into a twist ending I saw a mile away. A twist for the sake of twist, if you ask me. The movie tries to turn Mandy Lane into a badass but they wait far too long to do it.
In the end, I didn’t love Mandy Lane. Sure, she’s cute and all, but this movie is no match for other serial killer films in horror. It’s a great idea, but the execution fell flat. Fear not, horror island. This serial killer is only in it for love and doesn’t stand a chance against those in it for blood.
If you liked All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, you might also like Scream, House at the End of the Street and Cold Creek Manor.