Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie Roundup: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Rites of Spring, and Ritual

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Wait, what? That's it? That's the movie people have been waiting some seven-odd years for and are calling a great "throwback" to the classics? I must have missed something because all I saw was something so boring, tedious, and melodramatic that I wonder why they even bothered trying to get the movie a US release date in the first place. It wasn't really worth the wait because this just wasn't my kind of movie. The story is thin and unrelatable, and the characters... man, they couldn't die fast enough, and that's including the ones that are supposed to be all sympathetic and shit. Why do all the boys love Mandy Lane? Why? I don't get it, and I don't get what the whole point of this movie was. It tried to be very arthouse and maybe a bit smarter than other movies with a similar plot, and just doesn't deliver. Some of the kills are deliciously nasty and unexpected, and that was nice but not enough. There's no tension, mostly from the fact that the killer is revealed way too soon and it is way too obvious even before that. The twist? Don't even care. Sorry to any diehard fans of Mandy Lane, but I just wasn't feeling this movie at all.

Rites of Spring (2011)
Though Rites of Spring is quite different and atypical of other horror movies, I quite enjoyed what it had to offer. It deals with two parallel stories happening at the same time - one about a couple deep in debt who decide who kidnap the daughter of a wealthy business man, and one a typical horror story about two girls kidnapped and offered up as sacrifice to some kind of harvest demon. As the stories go on, more is revealed that connects the characters in both of them, and I thought it was interesting to watch this unfold. Rites of Spring is not overly gory or action-filled, but rather it is more of a quiet and methodical approach that is both well shot and acted. One of my new favorites AJ Bowen plays one of the reluctant kidnappers, and I loved his approach to the character - he makes a great opposite to his greedy and sadistic friend who helps them with the deed. The appearance of an actual creature that The Stranger (who kidnaps the girls at the beginning) is sacrificing virgins to was a bit off-putting because I was hoping for a more realistic story, but it's handled in a mature way so it's not too crazy or ridiculous. I also really love the retro look of the poster, which is what first attracted me to the movie, actually. Rites of Spring won't be everyone's favorite, but if you think you'll like something a bit different, I say give this one a chance.

Tales from the Crypt Presents: Ritual (2006)
Ritual is an odd duck of a movie. I only wanted to watch it because it is one of the three films created as a spin-off movie to the Tales from the Crypt series, the others being Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. Now those two movies are great, but Ritual, first released in internationally in 2002 and not out in the U.S. until 2006, is something entirely different. Mainly, the tone of the movie is all wrong and it doesn't feel like a Tales from the Crypt story at all. We don't even get to see the Cryptkeeper doing his little introduction or anything (at least in the version that I watched) and that was mighty disappointing. The story definitely had the potential to be campy and hilarious like we love from Tales from the Crypt with all the stuff about voodoo, but Ritual was sadly not funny at all. I don't even really know how to categorize it if I had to, maybe as more of a thriller or mystery. Definitely not action because absolutely nothing happens worth talking about. I got excited during the nasty and bloody, albeit hallucinatory, death of the doctor at the beginning, but nothing as cool happened after that and the movie just got more boring instead of better. The characters are all fun and interesting, though, and having competent actors play them does help the movie some. Other than that, Ritual is pretty forgettable and uninteresting.


  1. If nothing else, that poster for "Rite of Spring" is striking.

    I'd be inclined to give "Mandy Lane" a look just because I like Amber Heard, but it sounds like there's not much to it.

    1. I do like Amber Heard and I liked her in All the Boys, but no, there's not much to the movie itself in my opinion. I'd rather watch The Ward than this one again.

      I know, I love that Rites of Spring poster. Very retro and cool.

  2. I enjoyed Mandy Lane, mostly for its twist that makes Amber Heard less of a damsel. It isn't exactly a new classic though. I found Rites of Spring to be pretty boring and straightforward. It's well filmed at least.

  3. I didn't mind Mandy Lane and I'm going to give The Rites of Spring a try. I just discovered your blog as I was looking for reviews to decide if I should watch Audrey Rose. I'm a huge horror buff so I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Oh, I think you should definitely watch Audrey Rose. As I recall I really liked the story on that one - it's something different and one I haven't seen done before or since.

      Thank you for reading, belle!