Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

13 June 2008

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, dir. Jonathan Levine (2006)

NIKKI says:
Friday the 13th... you've got to watch a horror movie. This looked like the perfect kind of movie to celebrate the date: A teen slasher with a great title, that looked like it could actually be somewhat okay. That's the best you can hope for, I reckon, with horror movies these days: Please be somewhat okay. You're so shocked when that happen, you're all: Wow, it was somewhat okay! I'm giving it five stars!

This was... somewhat okay. The script was beat-perfect. Kills and scares all coming exactly when they needed to. So, we knew whoever was behind the movie had some sense of what they were doing. The kills were good, the effects were well done. The ending was interesting. The actors weren't bad. The only thing that let them down was poor writing -- they were all sex-obsessed, pot-smoking jerks. And while that might be a staple of these kinds of films, there's a way of writing characters like that so that they're likable. That was not the case here, and really let the film down.

Still, because the script was put together so well, I walked away respecting it. I was disappointed, though, that the final twist did not have ample set up. I can understand why certain characters acted the way they did, but I think a line here and there preceding the reveal would have helped to strengthen that aspect of the movie. I think the writers might have been so afraid of showing their hands, that they refused to give off any hints of what was going on. It worked on some levels and not on others -- which is to say, the final reveal is sensational, but we'd guessed it back at the 20-minute mark.

I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt, though. In the sludge of offensive horror knock-offs, this one stands above as a movie that knows the rules, does its best to subvert them, and the genuinely shocks and thrills. If only its kids weren't so stupid -- I so wanted to care more when underwear girl was running from the car near the end. Still -- nice effort.


STEVE says:
Grading on a curve, as we have to these days, Mandy Lane was better than most slasher flicks. It was well-plotted and necessarily bloody without going overboard, and that scores it extra points. But looking at it in a vacuum, away from its progenitors and the rest of the copy-cats, it's really nothing special.

Mandy Lane plays with the conventions of the slasher genre, but doesn't do anything particularly interesting with them. I called the killer in the first scene, and Nikki called the twist - which was good, but not particularly surprising - about halfway through. The cast is pretty much the same group of reprehensible dickhead teens you've seen in a thousand other movies of this type (the stoner, the jock, the token black), and - as in those - you either want to see them dead, or couldn't care less, so there's no one to empathize with but the killer, who we can't really empathize with because we're not given a motive until the end.

Interesting but unexceptional, I thought Mandy Lane was going to raise the bar. As it is, it just cleared it.


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