Dir/scr: Jonathan Levine. US. 2006. 88mins.
A quick $3.5m-$4m buy for The Weinstein Company atToronto, All TheBoys Love Mandy Lane proves to be a crisply-executed teen horror debut fromdirector Jonathan Levine and LA production outfit Occupant Films. It's likelyto be a smart buy, given that this genre, at its best, is a licenceto print money and that Levine's first feature brings a smart and sexy, almostpostmodern, twist to the proceedings.
Business will bebest of course in the US, birthplace of the scarily-mature teenagers whopopulate Mandy Lane - with theexception of Mandy herself, of course, who is a newcomer to the genre and, asplayed with dewy-lipped lusciousness by Amber Heard, another strong sellingpoint.
Territories whichtraditionally warm to US teen horror will also embrace the movie warmly, withancillary as hot as Mandy is. Word of mouth should be good all round, ensuringa longer-than-usual run for similar fare of the genre.
From the get-go, All The Boys LoveMandy Lane seems quite familiar - yet also a little different. The openingsequence sets the scene, with the shyly-beautiful Mandy (Heard) invited to apool party where she is pursued by all the boys - and the camera - but whichends in tragedy.
Cut to school'send, and a weekend invitation to a Texas ranch house. Mandy, still aloof butvery much the object of desire, has teamed up with some of the more popular,sexy, mean-style-girls, and decides to go, even though the main point of theevent seems to be to bed her.
With three boys,three girls and a convenient lake on site, the murders duly commence, with theonly new character introduced being a sexy ranch hand and Vietnam veteran(Mount).
Mandy Lane, however, has more up its sleeve in its nifty 88minutes than typical teen audiences might expect. Visually, too, it's deft andas savvy as the characters who inhabit it, althoughviewers may only ultimately take away the image of Heard in close-up.
As a commercialgenre exercise, it hits all the buttons, although Mandy Lane is unlikely to bring any newcomers in off the street.Those who do stray in may be more horrified by the sexual precociousness andcompetitiveness of these teens than the murders themselves, although it doeshave a strong ring of truth to it.
Unsurprisingly,because a perfect teen horror always leaves a door open, there's definitelyroom left for a sequel.
The Weinstein Company
Robert Earl Keen