Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day #23 This boy does NOT love Mandy Lane

The Halloween Horror Challenge continues. We took this in the same day as PONTYPOOL. Quite the polar opposite...

. Jonathan Levine
Weinstein Company

This movie has been sitting on the shelf at the Weinstein Company for almost three years now. It has been released all over the rest of the world without problems, so it isn't a content issue or music rights or some bullshit like that. No one seems to really know why it is just sitting there. Except that the Weinsteins are notorious for picking up films and just squatting on them. But after seeing this one, I can't say it is a huge loss to the movie going community.

There is nothing wrong with a slasher movie that is clever. But there is something seriously wrong with a slasher movie that the filmmakers THINK is clever but it is anything but. I can give this one credit for not trying to be one of those post SCREAM bullshit jobs where everyone quotes other movies, and tries to let the audience in on the joke pretending everyone involved is better than the genre. At least it isn't trying to do that. But that is a small favor in the lager cache of things. Slasher movies have never been the smartest genre, but now that they try to appeal to the same teen crowd that watch the kind of shit that is on teen TV, they have sunk to depths of low that scrape the bottom in ways we have never thought possible. This movie is prime example of that.

Mandy Lane in all her pouty glory. All the boys want her you know!

The movie revolves strictly around the character of Mandy Lane played by (who to me looks like a poor mans Amber HeardScarlett Johanson minus the boobs). The gimmick here is that Mandy Lane is perfect in every single way. All the boys want to fuck her so bad that they are in solidarity about it and work together to create plans to do it. All the teen girls are so in awe of her that they are all her friends and follow her everywhere she goes. But she is no HEATHERS style conceited snob. No way! She is an angelic, perfect, virgin, shot with soft filters, and slow motion, that is too good for this Earth. And that is ALL her characteristics. All we learn about her as a character is that her parents died in a car crash when she was little and she was raised by her Aunt. That's it. Her angelic beauty is supposed to fill in for her lack of any kind of character insight, which would be fine, if there was a twist in the tail that was so important later on. But anyway, because of her perfection everyone thinks she is the bees knees and do crazy things to be near her, even though she doesn't do anything much at all in response. She has a best friend, who is the class outcast. All the other boys in school beat him up and try to drown him at the local parties (you know homicidal horseplay). So in retaliation he talks to biggest dousche of them all into jumping off the roof to impress Mandy in the movie's most impressive scene. No one likes this emo kid after that though. Well except me, cause I thought it was pretty cool.

Don't get excited kids, this doesn't go where it totally should go!

So six months later all the cool kids decide to go to the Jewish kid's local farm to drink and get high and hopefully fuck the shit out of Mandy Lane. Her buddy is now the school pariah, even she is not talking to him. So he is not invited. They all go up there and three montages of all the kids smoking pot later (I am not kidding) they are off and running wild with someone killing them. Here is the dumb thing though. After two of them are killed, the film totally reveals that the killer is the best friend character (who is also such a dork, that it is really hard to believe he could over power a couple of the other guys). So any sense of mystery is out the window. More time is spent with the drunken shenanigans, the girls bitching and making fun of each other and talking about fucking. There is one boob shot but it is very brief. By the climax of the movie it is clear the filmmakers were trying to make a movie about how this teenager has become some sort of spree killer ala Charles Starkweater or something. But by approaching the first half like a BEVERLY HILLS 90210 episode mixed with a slasher movie it just doesn't work. To do a movie exploring how someone becomes a spree killer, you need to try to include some depth of character. This has NONE. Hell even UWE BOLL'S HEART OF AMERICA managed to get that right. And everyone hates that guy (actually I don't, but most everyone else does). Then they trot out the twists, not one but TWO. Each one negating everything you have seen up to the point before it. So they are not clever, in fact the twists are ANTI-CLEVER. They actually kind of make your head hurt as they go on, sort of like you ate a whole bunch of pop rocks at once and maybe a few of them got stuck in your sinus cavity or something. You can feel your brain cells just popping away...POP...POP...POP.

An example of that beautiful cinematography I was talking about.

Which is weird because this thing is beautifully shot. The cinematography is gorgeous. It was shot in Texas and they picked plenty of beautiful landscapes to use and framed it all wonderfully. Some of the shots would make beautiful still photographs. Just on a visual level the movie is well directed and always nice to look at, though the editing is really weird. There are side wipes used often, sort of like an old TV show, which are really out of place. Then when the kill scenes happen it is like Rob Zombie took over editing. The rest of the movie is edited one specific way, then the kill scenes are edited like music videos, with flash cuts, hyper fast editing, shock freeze frames etc. It is over stylization just for the sake of it and is simply just stupid.

But this is a movie that doesn't even have the guts to fulfill the sleaze that it pertains to want to dip into. For a movie that is about how all the characters want to fuck someone, it is about as chaste as it can get. The characters talk a big game, one character gets an off screen hand-job and blow job. As I mentioned earlier one blond bimbo shows her boobs all too quickly. But that is it. There is a moment where Mandy and the other blond look like they are going to make out, it is even set up as the other girl gives Mandy a pill to loosen her up. But then the filmmakers chicken out completely and have the boys interrupt them. This is that kind of movie. Where it is perfectly okay to show a girl get a shotgun rammed down her throat because she just gave a guy a blow job moments before, but wont show two girls kiss. But boy it will try to look edgy and sexy by talking a lot of crap about sex. It will even show -gasp- girls in their bras showing off their navel rings!!! Oh no! How naughty! One girl even trims her pubic hair, but we don't really see that either.

Some movies are shelved for a reason.

Reviews © Andy Copp


  1. For as much scorn as Weinstein Company earns, the long shelving of this movie is not all their fault. While they did initially acquire this movie for the U.S., they ran into both money trouble and lack of good advance buzz, so they sold it off entirely to up-and-coming indie company Senator Entertainment, which then had a good track record as a producer of movies for other studios and was about to go it alone. Senator, in turn, had a very bad go as a standalone company and they too went out of business quickly. AFAIK, they presold DVD rights, so for better or worse, I would expect this going straight to video sometime in 2010.

  2. Good to know. You always have the best inside dope on distribution and how things change hands.

    Still, no one is missing anything as the movie blows... But goofy distribution history is often more interesting than the movies themselves.