It’s been seven years since Amber Heard starred in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and she hasn’t aged. (Check her out in Machete Kills for proof.) The film, however, has. A mid-’00s teen slasher with a slow-to-surface feminist twist, it’s so dated that one of the ill-fated starlets takes her fashion cues from Paris Hilton.
Due to the machinations and mistakes of the Weinsteins, who snapped it up at a midnight premiere at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, Mandy Lane is only now getting released. That his first film looks like his fourth must be bittersweet for director Jonathan Levine, who’s since helmed better flicks like The Wackness, 50/50, and Warm Bodies. But there are still fresh ideas in this cabin kill-’em-all about a virginal babe (Heard) on a weekend sojourn with a bunch of popular lotharios desperate to stick things in her—and that’s before a victim gets mouth-raped with a gun.
Writer Jacob Forman takes the possessive male gaze to its violent extreme. Mandy isn’t much of a character, and that’s the point. None of her suitors stops drooling long enough to really speak to her, and we, too, get distracted by Heard’s healthy curves. Instead, Mandy and the film calmly wait to be seen for who they really are underneath the hype.
Neither disposable nor a long-lost masterpiece, she might not be loved by all the boys, but she’s still worth a Friday night date.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2013