All The Boys Love Mandy Lane
Here’s a welcome example of that all too rare thing in American horror movies: a teen slasher that’s actually very good. The simple answer to that conundrum is that appearances can be deceptive: Mandy Lane isn’t simply a teen slasher flick. As directed by first-timer Jonathan Levine from a script by fellow newcomer Jacob Forman, the film mixes generic stalk’n’slash thrills with a barbed commentary on high-school life.
Rising star Amber Heard (who’s soon to be seen in David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express) plays the titular small town beauty, whose blonde good looks, uncommon cool and willingness to party make her the most popular girl with the local jocks and rich kids. When one of the latter invites Mandy and a few of her friends out to his absent father’s farm for a night of partying, she readily accepts what’s clearly a dodgy invitation to get laid. But when the horny, drunken, stoned and generally wasted girls and boys start disappearing in the middle of the night, it begins to look like Mandy got herself into a situation her seemingly unshakable cool won’t get her out of.
You’d be forgiven for assuming early on that this is a by-the-numbers chiller. The initial gruesome murder rather lowers expectations but the lovely luminous photography by Darren Genet, a mesmerising performance by Heard and at least two more genuine narrative surprises confirms we’re in far more fertile filmmaking territory.
Selected release from Fri 15 Feb.