Director: Sean Byrne
Writer: Sean Byrne
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee
I’m still floored by what I’ve just watched. Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the.floor. This movie is insane.
The opening scene shows high school kid Brent driving a car with his dad as passenger. Brent gets startled while driving, when they come across some bloodied guy standing in the middle of the road. This results in the car crashing and Brent’s father dying.
Flash forward six months later; Brent gets asked out to go to the prom by Lola but he turns down the offer, nicely enough, because he is already taking his girlfriend Holly. Big mistake.
Brent gets kidnapped and held prisoner by Lola and her father and the madness and insanity begins.
The Loved Ones brought forth many different emotions while watching it. The main character, Brent, went through so much shit, it was impossible not to feel for him. Sadness and desperation were dominant feelings I had throughout the film.
Some of the torture sequences were downright nasty and disturbing. The villains involved – the father and especially the character of Lola – are two of the most vile, sadistic and psychotic characters I’ve watched in a movie for quite some time. I could have swore I was feeling the pain that poor Brent was going through. Torture scenes were almost too well done and this is a major credit to the talented film maker here and the actors for playing such convincing roles – I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them received some form of therapy after the film was done shooting. This one brought me back memories of the first time I watched Misery as a kid and also not since a movie like the excellent Martyrs have I felt my stomach turn in knots and my throat almost hurt during certain scenes.
There was also a sub-plot involving a prom date with a goth girl and a nerdy kid that didn’t seem to serve much purpose aside from trying to create some sympathy for one of the other characters that plays a role in the latter stages – unless I completely missed the point there.
I thought the music was good and well utilized. Extra bonus points for having the main character wearing a Metallica – Master of Puppets shirt (still pound-for-pound, best metal album of all time) and also having a piece of the Australian band Parkway Drive in there early on.
The Loved Ones is one of the best examples of the torture horror sub-genre in my mind (using the term, “torture porn” would cheapen this excellent film) – not just for the painful scenes to watch at times, but also for the overall excellent performances by the cast. Lola, aka. Princess, played by Robin McLeavy, has got to go down in my mind as one of the best portrayals of a psychopathic, sadistic, sick-in-the-damned head villain ever put on film that I’ve seen. For a teenage girl, she at times showed the kind of drive, madness and unstoppable qualities we would normally associate with other on-screen bad guys like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhess or Michael Myers – but still keeping it very much human and realistic in feel.
I’m looking forward to seeing what else Director Sean Byrne comes up with in the future. This one will not be easy to top.