In a lurid attempt to revive a slasher genre that is well past its prime I dare say the people attached to this film fancied they had another Scream on their hands; a mid-noughties revival of the beloved slasher genre that would have cinema goers pissing their knickers. Sadly it misses the mark completely managing the fascinating feat of being dated but not retro, unpredictable yet dull and unusual yet entirely familiar.
ATBLML follows the beautiful outsider Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) who receives an invitation to the geeky Dylan’s (Adam Powell) parent’s ranch, which she accepts despites her apparent disdain for all in attendance. Once there they soon start misbehaving but of course Mandy’s a good girl and doesn’t want to get involved despite the insistence of several of their number. As the night begins to wind down the stragglers are picked off by a mysterious killer. The boys are to testosterone charged and oblivious to notice what’s happening so it’s down to Mandy and handsome ranch hand Garth (Anson Mount) to save the day and protect the guests from the wrong kind of sticky ending.
This film is full of good intentions, but as they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In my opinion it just misses the mark completely; it tries to be a slasher, it tries to be a mystery, it tries to have a twisted ending. What it actually ends up with is a lot of incongruous factors that are completely jarring for the entire duration of the film. The slasher element is let down by lacking the requisite body count or a charismatic killer (who, by the way, has his identity revealed way to soon and in far too glib a fashion). The mystery element is let down by the insipid cast who, for the most part, couldn’t act their way through a McDonald’s commercial. Then there’s the ending; completely illogical and full of holes and not even in a hilarious, campy way, it’s played dead straight.
I’m not sure if this one awakened my rancour because slashers hold a special place in my heart but I would say give this stinker a miss unless you’re a big fan of Amber Heard who is a knockout, sad that that’s pretty much the only compliment I can offer this movie.
Video sourced from Youtube.