FILM REVIEW: The Loved Ones (2009)

The Loved Ones is an amazing horror film from Australia. I know I say that a lot about Australian films and...why not? Australian films tend to blow my mind. Just look at all the stuff that comes out of that country. A...mazing! There are two things I don't ever fuck around with: Red Velvet cupcakes from Ruby Tuesday's....and Australian horror films.

If you've never tried a Red Velvet cupcake from Ruby Tuesday...then, you need to stop reading this and head over there and order two of them. Because, they are THAT good. I sometimes like to order them before my meal...and then afterwards. Then, I order like 4 to one on the way home and save one for later that night and eat two for breakfast. Speakin' of which...I need to cut back on those. I never realized I was such a fattypants. 

I'm sorry.

So, The Loved Ones  is not unlike a Red Velvet cupcake. Except gorier and full of awkward allusions to creepy father/daughter sexual tension. I feel like I've already done a review on this film years ago when I caught that private screening for film critics. Or maybe that was just a bootleg I watched at a Halloween party a couple years back when I dressed up as Blanche from the Golden Girls. I forget. Anyway, I scanned our website and the most I could find was a write up we did for Valentine's Day last year. So...on with the review.

The film opens with a car accident that takes away a young man's (Brent) loved one. I won't spoil any details about the film...because the experience is best served going into it sight unseen. Let's just say that the accident messes young Brent up and causes him to embrace many of the teenage debaucheries such as marijuana, heavy metal and self-mutilating. You know...the usual teen stuff. Brent is played by Xavier Samuel, who you may remember from the Twilight films. Personally, I don't indulge in lameness so, I don't know much about those films. But, in Loved Ones, Samuel plays brooding troubled teen expertly. I can definitely see the young actor going far.

Lola is a lovely young girl who desperately wants to go to the school dance with Brent. However, Brent is way too fucked up with his own issues to even acknowledge Lola's existence. So, he kindly refuses her advances and opts to go with his own girlfriend, who incidentally possesses quite the facial mole. Lola is played by Robin McLeavy, who apparently went to the Kathy Bates school of lunacy...because her Lola is the kind of performance that cements the whole horrific experience with a desperate obsession. You sorta feel for her character, especially in the quiet moments in between the brutality.

Speaking of brutality, the film has plenty to go around. Especially once Brent gets himself abducted and Lola decides to hold her own high school dance at her house with her dad chaperoning the whole thing. It's the kind of stuff that makes you flinch in the worst of ways. And the relationship between Lola and her father, played by John Brumpton, creates such an awkward unease that it makes those brutal moments all the worse as you don't remember why you are squirming in your armchair. Is it the lustful eyes of Lola's father to his own daughter? Or is it the nail to the penis? read that correctly.

Then, there's the twist. Don't worry...I won't say anything about it...but, it's the kind of twist that completes the entire film and delves further into the insanity of it all. If you haven't seen the film, then you are in luck, my fellow Film Deviant. The Loved Ones will make a limited theatrical run here in the States on June 1st. It's definitely worth checking out...especially for that awesome ending that had all of us jumping up and cheering when we first watched the film.

Writer/director, Sean Byrne does a hell of a job creating a thorough horror film full of great performances and a razor-sharp plot. The film also looks exquisite thanks to the camera eye of cinematographer Simon Chapman.

The Aussies are fuckin' awesome. They know how to deliver a horror film that blends the human condition and character development with sheer balls-to-the-wall gory terror. The Loved Ones is not your typical teenage obsession-driven torture film and is a welcome addition to the awesomeness that can only come from the savagely rich lands of Australia. Also...I'm not kidding about those Red Velvet cupcakes.

Thanks for reading,