Saturday, 13 July 2013

MOVIE: The Loved Ones (2009)

Image from Wikipedia
"Bring The Hammer, Daddy"...

An interesting twist on the usual horror formulas, as Brent (Xavier Samuel) turns down an invitation from the seemingly quiet and reserved Lola (Robyn McLeavy) to his high school's prom. Quite reasonably, Brent has already agreed to go with his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine), so Lola really shouldn't take it personally. Except, she does...

Lola is actually somewhat unstable, and before he can get ready for the prom Brent finds himself abducted by Lola's equally unhinged father (John Brumpton - one of those actors you may not know by name, but will recognise from a host of Aussie film and TV appearances). He's arranged Lola a prom night of her very own, where she gets to be crowned queen, and where Brent appears to be guest of honour. Escape seems like a sensible course of action, but Lola and Daddy aren't giving up that easy.

Back in town, Holly is trying to suss out where Brent could have disappeared to, and she and Brent's mother enlist the help of the local policeman. Meanwhile, the cop's daughter Mia has gone to the prom with Brent's mate Jamie - he can't believe his luck, but as it transpires Mia has a few issues of her own. Their eventful night out is interwoven with the events at Lola's place in a way which would seem jarring on the surface but actually works rather well, especially as the film proceeds and we learn more about the peripheral characters. There's also an event from six months earlier in Brent's life which has a link, and the way in which the film's players have all been unwittingly affected by Lola's activities is very cleverly revealed.
Throw in a lobotomised woman at Lola's place called Bright Eyes, a hidden basement, some deliciously dark humour and some visuals that will make you wince, and The Loved Ones turns out to be one of the most genuinely original horror flicks of the last few years. Australia has turned out some refreshing horror entries over the years, and this continues that proud tradition nicely. Director Sean Byrne keeps things running briskly and doesn't let a single scene outstay its welcome, whilst Robin McLeavy is quite simply outstanding as the deadly Lola.

I'm not sure it's right to say I enjoyed this movie as that might suggest I have something wrong with me, but... what the hell, I did enjoy it. It's not one for the squeamish or easily offended, but if you like a good original horror flick with some twisted laughs and some very grisly visuals then The Loved Ones is wholeheartedly recommended. There's no middle ground - you'll either love it or hate it.

Purple rating: 8/10

Australia 2009 - Screen Australia/Film Victoria/Omnilab/Ambience Entertainment
Certificate 18 (UK), MA15+ (Australia - originally R18+, overturned following an appeal)
Blu Ray/DVD from Optimum/StudioCanal (UK), Madman Entertainment (Australia)
Australian Trailer

1 comment:

  1. its my favorite horror thriller of all time...and i really like your way of writing...