The Loved Ones (2009) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Sean Byrne
Producers: Michael Boughen, Mark Lazarus
Writers: Sean Byrne
Date Released: September 13, 2009
Xavier Samuel as Brent
Robin McLeavy as Lola
Victoria Thaine as Holly
Jessica McNamee as Mia
John Brumpton as Eric
Richard Wilson as Jamie
Suzie Dougherty as Carla
Andrew Gilbert as Paul
Rating: 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
In order to avoid a ghostly man on the road, Brent (Xavier Samuel) swerves the car heavily and hits into a tree, causing his father’s death. Now six months later, Brent is still lost in pain and guilt, that he doesn’t want to attend the year-end prom if it wasn’t for his girlfriend. However, someone else invites him to the event, and that is Lola (Robin McLeavy), his schoolmate who obviously is obsessed with him. Brent declines and soon after, he is hanging out with his dog in the woods just before the prom. Unfortunately, Lola’s dad kidnaps him and takes him to their house to spend the night with his daughter. Lola and her dad torture and make Brent do whatever they want. Brent tries everything to escape, for his girlfriend and his mom waiting for him to come home.
The Loved Ones (2009) has a packaging that gives a much more coy than it actually is: a lengthy, brutal and scary torture film. Fans of torture porn might find this a little unsatisfying as some gore bits aren’t as wince-inducing as they could’ve been. To reassure you, there is just the right amount of squeamish gore in the second half of the film. It keeps coming back for more just as when you think it’s over because this film really like to push what’s acceptable. Probably the most gory scene is when Lola’s daddy gets eaten by the zombie-like people in the basement. The makeup is astounding as you will be convinced that the deranged people have been there a long time and obviously been driven to madness. There may be nothing new under the sun, but this bloodied gem is engrossingly gross, and satisfyingly slick with crunchy bits.
The Grave Review
Debuting his first feature film titled The Loved Ones (2009), director and writer Sean Byrne is indeed loved by most of the critics and viewers. With his visualization, he managed to put relentlessly sadistic violence, coupled with a hint of incest, a spot of cannibalism, and gratuitous sex scenes in a single film. Nothing groundbreaking but a quality film nonetheless.
Cinematically speaking, The Loved Ones is an absolute beauty. Partnered with a breathtaking setting, the film is a relaxation to the eyes in spite of its genre. Byrne clearly has respect and adoration for horror, as he have dissected exactly what it is about these films that audience find appealing. The pictures are strikingly modern, forming its own identity with no intent of being a throwback. The shot where it clearly shows what I’m talking about is when Brent climbs up a rocky cliff, and just as before he reaches the top, he stays for a while with only one hand keeping him alive, thus implying that he is at the verge of just giving up. Aside from this, almost all the other scenes have deeper and more serious meanings which will lead you into thinking what’s more there is to see.
The story is a breath of fresh air from all the slasher films. With a serial killer dressed in pink and likes glitters and soft stuff, you wouldn’t think that she’d be fond of blood and guts too. On top of that, it is not without relevant social implications, which involve repercussions of grief, the indescribable string that holds a family together, and the fiery wrath of a desolated person. The storyline as a whole, however, seems misguided as the other plots such as Jamie and goth chic, and Holly and the policeman, don’t seem to be seamed perfectly.
Robin McLeavy’s Lola owns the spotlight of the film. Because of the passion and focus she clearly brought to the role, McLeavy’s portrayal transcends that of a generic serial killer. Rather, she shows us a twisted, psychotic little girl who takes unrequited love as an invitation to torture and kill her boy toys. Xavier Samuel’s Brent is identifiable despite the character’s gloomy condition. Other cast had given awesome performances who had characters written as real people, not often cardboard cutouts like most slasher films.
Musical background and sound effects added to the intensity and madness of The Loved Ones. Backed by a kicking soundtrack, Kasey Chambers’ hit single “Not Pretty Enough” is creepy personified as the song will haunt you through Last Song Syndrome. Dialogues may not be quite as astounding as the other aspects, this film is still a must watch at it richly deserves.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Loved Ones (2009) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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