He created a zom com with “Warm Bodies,” made a cancer comedy with “50/50” and put a cool spin on teen angst in “.” Now a gritty little horror film that has sat on the shelf since 2006 is coming back to haunt him, breaking his cinematic winning streak.
“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” is a series of clichés strung together in an attempt to subvert the usual slasher movie tropes. It’s the “Scream” recipe of knowingly winking at the vey plot devices the story is exploiting. In this case its dead cell phones, a remote location, hormonal desires and soon to be dead teens.
At the center of it all is Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) a virginal beacon amongst the promiscuity who, for some reason, is always referred to by her full name. Perhaps it has something to do with brand recognition for this seven-year-old movie.
She is the object of desire for all the boys—both the good-looking doomed ones and the pyscho with a grudge. They say things to her like, “You have no idea how hot you are, do you?” and would literally kill to be with her.
Levine tries to turn the genre on its head with a twist, and while it does kick up the queasy quotient, it only comes after the movie has reveled in every formulaic slasher movie ritual. The sex, drugs and lame rock ‘n’ roll that get us to the surprise is so grounded in its source material that even the introduction of a late plot shocker isn’t enough to make “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” feel any less than derivative.