If you love hor­rors, you’ll love Mandy

ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

Di­rected by Jonathan Levine. Star­ring Am­ber Heard, An­son Mount, Michael Welch 18 cert, Storm, Belfast; Cineworld/Vue, Dublin; Lim­er­ick, Om­ni­plex, 88 min

BACK at the turn of the cen­tury, the un­avoid­able, dread hand of irony threat­ened to – let’s seek an ap­pro­pri­ate metaphor – force it­self into the belly of the hor­ror film, scoop out the vis­cera within and fling them into a dank pit in a danker cel­lar. Hap­pily, film-mak­ers even­tu­ally tired of the promis­cu­ously post-mod­ern shocker and aban­doned their at­tempts to lay sub­texts be­neath the de­cap­i­ta­tion of ev­ery cheer­leader.

With that in mind, should we be fear­ful of a film named All the Boys Love Mandy Lane that, once more, know­ingly re­vis­its the con­ven­tions of the high-school slasher flick? Well, yes, but only in a good way.

Jonathan Levine’s de­but fea­ture, an agree­ably nasty piece of work made for about $500,000, never over­cooks its ef­forts to fold al­lu­sions to Fri­day 13th or The Texas Chain­saw Mas­sacre into its bloody souf­flé. The pic­ture is smart when it needs to be and bru­tally brain­less when that is re­quired. You couldn’t call it sub­tle, but it gets the job done with­out over­stay­ing its wel­come.

The film be­gins with an ex­cel­lent pro­logue in which the tit­u­lar (steady!) Ms Lane en­coun­ters vi­o­lent tragedy at a pool party near her Texan high school. Nine months later, she sets off on a week­end away with a car­load of fi­nally honed archetypes: kindly AfricanAmer­i­can, bit­ter slut, dope fiend and so on. At first it’s all kiss­ing and booz­ing. Then it’s all am­pu­ta­tions and shriek­ing. One guy, like, gets a ma­chete drawn across both his eyes, which is, like, way cool.

Shot in blurry un­der­pro­cessed colour, the pic­ture has the qual­ity of a slacker soap opera in­ter­rupted by creative butch­ery. Only you will know if that is the sort of thing you like. If you do, then you’ll like this sort of thing.

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