There will be spoilers.
Baby girl was up at three in the morning, tired but refusing to sleep, therefore I was pacing up and down the hallway trying to get her to sleep. As an alternative to thinking about leaving this fussy baby on the doorstep of some stranger I started thinking about All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, which I had seen a few nights before. I really enjoyed the movie but I was unfulfilled by the ending since we don’t know why Mandy Lane does what she does. I’m not saying I need everything spelled out for my but I found myself wondering weather she was the villain or the heroin?
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is horror film about a group of high school kids who go to their friend Red’s cabin for the weekend. Then one by one the kids get picked off until Mandy Lane and the ranch hand Garth are the lone survivors. The movie ends much like Scream 4 except All The Boys Love Mandy Lane ends is a slower paced film with a much more satisfying ending despite the nagging question.
*For those of you who do not know All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was supposed to come out in 2006 but was shelved until recently. Therefore they did it before Scream 4*
The pacing of this film reminded me a lot of Drinking Buddies, a slice of life film about two friends who obviously have chemistry but do nothing about it. Day after day we watch the two main characters talk, joke, help each other out and yet they never address their feelings for each other, which is the undercurrent to the whole movie.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane has a very similar pacing, people get killed but the deaths are not glorified. Emmet, the school outcast after he convinced a jock to jump off his roof into a pool in order to impress Mandy Lane but ultimately resulting in the jocks death, goes about killing in a very mater of fact and mechanical manor. While he takes some joy in it he does not revel in it. Ultimately we find out that Emmet is working with Mandy Lane, killing for her, toward a greater end where they’ll kill themselves once everyone else is dead.
The reasoning behind this plan is never elaborated on and ultimately doesn’t matter since Mandy Lane changes her mind. (though it seems she never intended to kill herself at all.) Just like in Drinking Buddies the main thrust of the movie is never addressed. We are just left to witness the events and wonder why.
Why are they doing this and furthermore what is so special about Mandy Lane? All of the action in this movie is centered around Mandy Lane, specifically, with the goal of taking her virginity and/or corrupting her innocence. She is offered up as this rare specimen of teenage purity, that is not as result of higher moral standard, ugliness or trauma, thus she must be conquered by the hormonal males who jockey for position to bed her or her female peers who want her as loose and high as they are.
The only thing that doesn’t revolve around Mandy Lane is Garth, the ranch hand that works at the cabin they go to for the weekend. He’s there to protect the kids and the property. He’s a solder with a rough past who just wants to be left alone. When Emmet turns on Mandy after she tells him that she’s not going to killer herself he tries to kill her and Garth attempts to protect her not know Mandy Lane’s role in the killings. I believe it’s because of Garth’s desire to be left alone that Mandy Lane chooses to let him live. (Either that or she is smart enough to know she needs someone to corroborate her story.) At the end of the movie, as they are driving off into the sunrise, Garth says you Mandy Lane “You did it. You saved us.”
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is not a rape/revenge film, obviously, but could have easily gone that direction with the way Mandy Lane is sought after. It is clear that the boy’s intentions are not malicious at this time and it’s also clear that Mandy Lane has no intention of sleeping with any of these boys. At the beginning of the movie we see Mandy Lane far ahead of the rest of her classmates while running laps around the track; everyone is literally pursuing her, which sums up the movie nicely. Does Mandy Lane believe herself to be in danger?
If Mandy Lane is the heroin, eliminating all of those who threaten her, what is her end game. Safety? It is to disappear with her new found compatriot (love?) Garth to a place where no one will bother them? Does she hope to create a mystique about her; all those who pursue Mandy Lane will die so best leave her alone? Does she hope to gain fame and notoriety as a survivor; to become seen and inaccessible at the same time?
If she is the villain is it simply the story of a high school girl over reacting to the sexual pressures of being a teenager? Is she stone cold crazy and enjoys the thrill of “being a tease;” not giving into the boys who want her, the girls who want her to be like them or Emmet who wants die with her in a twisted romantic fashion. At one point Mandy Lane has a throw away comment that her parents died when she was young which raises the unanswered question of how did they die? Was she part of that? Again is she seeking fame of recognition of some sort? Is this just a cautionary tale about the relentless pursuit of something that doesn’t want to be caught?
I still don’t know how I feel about Mandy Lane. Part of me believes that she is stone cold crazy while another part of me love the fact that the movie ends with her riding off into the sun rise which is the signifier of the hero. I hate myself for saying this but I want a sequel that follows up with Mandy Lane ten years down the road because it might answer some of these questions; and I loved spending time with the character.
All in all I thought this was a great movie both stylistically and narratively. I thoroughly recommend people check it out.