If you love horrors, you’ll love Mandy
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
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.