See "The Loved Ones" with your Loved Ones (if you dare)!


Many horror movies have been made about high school outcasts.  High School in itself can be and is a real horror story for many kids across the world. "The Loved Ones," tells such a story that goes to extreme and disturbing lengths.  The movie is from and based in Victoria, Australia and when it comes to bat shit crazy movies the Aussies really go all out.  Lola (Robin McLeavy) is a seemingly shy and meek girl who gathers her courage to ask her crush Brent (Xavier Samuel) to the prom.  While Brent who looks a lot like the late Heath Ledger, already has a girlfriend he is going with.  He politely declines her offer and leaves.  Obviously hurt and disappointed Lola who with help from her father have plans to make it a night to remember.

Ever since Brent was involved in a car accident that took his dad's life he has never been the same.  He was driving at the time and blames himself for his death.  His mom has also become an emotional zombie.  He spends his days smoking pot, listening to heavy metal music and contemplating suicide.  His girlfriend Holly is caring and supportive but can only do so much.  Just before picking her up for the dance he goes on another one of his lonely contemplative walks when he is assaulted and kidnapped.  If you can connect the dots you'll guess that it was Lola and her father.  They bring him to their house and tie him to a chair.

A lot of what we see in the first half of "The Loved Ones" is nothing new, but things do get a lot better.  Brent is tortured by Lola and her father.  The family along with their creepy comatose almost dead mother is somewhat reminiscent of the crazy family from "Texas Chainsaw" but so many films have gone there it has become quite the horror cliché.  At one point Brent does escape but is quickly rounded up.   

There is another storyline going on that really doesn't seem too fit.  It follows Brent's BFF Jaime as he takes this Goth chick to the prom.  They spend most of the time in the car drinking, smoking pot and being uncomfortable with each other until they start making out.  There are some good character moments and the filmmakers do try to link up some of the characters and their "loved ones" towards the end but the whole storyline seems a little misguided.  A third storyline involves Holly, Brent's mother, and a policeman as they search for Brent.

Lola's torture of Brent starts going to extreme lengths and we also find out a bunch of disturbing backstory of the family and what is really going on in their house.  Brent is not her first plaything as there have been many others just like him, and she is getting good at it.  The movie continues to go down a very dark path and gets just as insane as Lola and her father.  Brent throughout his ordeal shows a strong will to live as he fights back against his captors with every chance he gets.  The movie comes in at a very trim hour and twenty minutes and although it was made on a tight budget it looks and feels like something that cost a whole lot more.  The violence and gore are pretty intense and extremely well done.  This is director Sean Byrne feature debut and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with next.  "The Loved Ones" is available on DVD or Blu-ray and is a must see for any horror fan.