Written by Tim Tori and directed by Patrik Syversen, horror flick tells the story of a group of teens who breakdown on the way to Chicago and hitch a ride with a truck driver, who brings them to an abandoned slaughterhouse filled with vampire-like creatures. If the contrived premise is OK with you, this is actually a mildly amusing horror with some vicious action sequences. Leading lady Courtney Hope (Shark Night) is a likable and strong-willed heroine, our vampires are right out of 30 Days of Night and this flick is actually better than the direct to DVD sequel to that movie. Vampire horror does take an interesting turn in it’s final act as well, but also has an abrupt, open ending. So, take it for what it is and as long as you don’t expect much, it’s an entertaining rental.
WARM BODIES (2013)
Silly, yet engaging enough…if you can get past the preposterous-ness of it all. During a zombie apocalypse, a young girl named Julie (Theresa Palmer) is trapped outside her walled city and is befriended and then falls in love with a zombie boy (Nicholas Hoult), who appears to have retained some of his humanity. The more the two spend together, the more human he appears to become. Can love heal all wounds including zombie-ism? Movie is very silly, but well directed by Jonathan Levine, well enough to make it somewhat entertaining as the two try to convince both the humans and the zombies to get along. Palmer makes an engaging heroine and Hoult does well making ‘R’ endearing with minimal dialog. Also stars John Malkovich as Julie’s dad and the city’s stern leader with a personal grudge against the flesh eating undead. An amusing enough watch, but nothing really special.
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006)
Interesting flick evokes both the horror films of the 70s and the slashers of the 80s as it tells the story of the beautiful and virginal, high school student Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) and what befalls her and her friends at a weekend getaway at a secluded ranch. Mandy is the beautiful object of every boys’ desire and as she and her group of friends party and all the boys plot to get into her pants, someone else stalks the group with far more homicidal desires.
Director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) gives Lane a visual style that evokes 70s flicks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but his story is very 80s slasher complete with promiscuous teens meeting gruesome deaths. Despite the similarities with past horrors, Levine adds his own slant to the proceedings and Mandy Lane is not your typical slasher, as Jacob Forman’s script has it’s share of twists and surprises. There are some arty touches and a deliberately slow burning pace to go along with some vicious kills, and you never feel things are quite right, even when nothing wrong is going on. The cast are all fine with leading lady Heard fitting the bill as the beautiful nymph every boy wants and you can’t quite tell if she’s oblivious to her effect on the young men around her, or if she’s just playing them all like the love sick puppies they are. Once the bodies start to pile up, though, her Mandy shows she’s more than just a pretty face.
It’s an odd little horror that will probably evoke very mixed feelings from movie and horror fans alike. Not a great flick…It has it’s faults such as revealing the killer’s identity a bit too early…but one that has it’s own identity among-st the many other horrors of it’s kind. When all is said and done, it is an effective slasher.
Originally set to be released by Dimension Films, they sold it off to Senator Entertainment who then went out of business leaving Mandy Lane unreleased here in the US, adding to it’s reputation. After 7 years it finally saw a release October 11, 2013 on Blu-Ray, VOD and DVD by new distributor RADiUS-TWC, who are part of The Weinstein Company, which, ironically, also includes Dimension Films. Mandy Lane has finally come home. Also stars Hell On Wheels’ Anson Mount.
3 (out of 4) Mandy Lane’s