Causing a sensation at FrightFest The Loved Ones was a crowd pleasing Aussie horror. It puts a sick twist on the teen film genre and offered up the scariest prom night since poor crazy Carrie got covered in pig’s blood.
Brent (Twilight and Road Kill star Xavier Samuel) may seem like every other high school kid, with his devoted girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine from Gone) and loving mother, however he is haunted by the road accident that killed his father while he was driving, leaving him hiding his feelings with drugs, heavy metal and self harm.
Trying to live a normal life he makes plans to take Holly to the end of school dance, but someone has other plans for him – much sicker disturbing plans. Brent is to be the king of a very special prom, one organised especially for his queen Lola (Robin McLeavy) and one which will involve syringes, a power drill a disco ball and ultimately his death.
Billed as John Hughes meets horror The Loved Ones takes the high school film to a whole different level. The central psycho character Lola at first appears to be the same quiet outsider seen in so many shiny, sunny, smile-filled Disney kids films. Except rather than finding acceptance and a boyfriend on the football team, here she gleefully and brutally tortures and disfigures boys with the obedient help of her equally unhinged father.
Packed full of nasty moments, excruciating tension and gore the movie is reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in its style and feel along with other Oz horrors like the disturbing Bad Boy Bubby, Peter Jackson’s brilliant Heavenly Creatures and the aforementioned Carrie as noticeable inspirations.
As a first film, writer and director Sean Byrne makes some rookie mistakes in his over-use of annoying music, a pointless subplot about a Goth girl and a pothead and some fragmented story construction.
Although at first the movie appears highly original it descends into genre convention and loses its initial shock power as its moves towards the obvious ending.
A solid horror with a good young cast, some twisted torture and enough interesting elements to keep you watching till the end you might not love the The Loved Ones but you will never be able to watch another teen movie without wondering what that reclusive nerdy girl has hiding in her basement.