Directed by Sean Byrne
Starring Xavier Samuel and Robin McLeavy.
Brent (Xavier Samuel) is a teenage boy who's father was killed after Brent swerved his car to avoid a bloody figure in the road, crashing and killing his father instantly. Six months later and it's the end of school year dance. When Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to the dance he politely turns her down as he's going with his girlfriend. Later on Brent finds himself kidnapped, tied up and things don't look good for him as a vengeful Lola and her father torture boys who upset the little princess.
I loved this movie. It was a real thrill to have a torture movie that wasn't the same old Saw and Hostel kidnap someone, torture, kill, rinse and repeat. The story is a simple one, we don't have any majorly complicated back story. Brent is obviously disturbed by the death of his father and self harms and has become detached from his mother. The only ray of sunshine for him seems to be his gorgeous and caring girlfriend, Holly. While we don't see much of them together you can tell they really like each other and she is his reason for getting up in the morning. Lola is the complete opposite to Holly. A very plain looking chubby girl who you can see has been rejected numerous times. Shy and sweet looking at first glance. There is a lovely scene where she tries on her pink prom dress for her father and the joy on her face when she gets his approval is childlike and innocent. This is far from the real Lola. I was expecting to feel for her going by just the descriptions alone you expect Brent to somewhat deserve some payback so to watch an innocent young boy who's had his fair share of hell be tortured by the mentally unstable duo of Lola and her father can be quite painful to watch. The most interesting part of The Loved Ones is the dynamics between Lola and her dad. Sometimes I couldn't tell if the Father was a role model for Lola or if Lola had complete control over him. It becomes apparent that they've done all of this before but who started it? There is the character of "Bright Eyes" who is Lola's mother. She appears to be a vegetable and it's unclear if she was Lola's victim or daddy dearest. But one thing that I was sure of, she was not a part of it and that is probably why she had fallen victim to the pair. There is a side story going on throughout between Brent's best friend and his prom date which seems a bit out of place but all does become clear later on.
In conclusion The Loved Ones is for me, the best Australian horror I've seen and is exciting, unflinching and enjoyable. I will be adding this one to my Blu ray collection. Sadly it didn't see a wide release which is a real shame because it's a gem. Hopefully if horror fans spread the word the demand will lead to a wider release.