This Australian gem centers around a boy named Brent who lost his Father in a car accident. He frequently cuts himself and suffers from severe depression. There’s a void between him and his mother, and the only happiness in his life comes from his girlfriend Holly.
One day, Lola Stone, a shy girl with creepy eyes, asks Brent to the school dance. Brent is already going with his girlfriend Holly, so he politely declines. Unfortunately, doing so proves to be the biggest mistake he has ever made. Lola does not like to take no for an answer. So, whether Brent wants to or not, he will be attending a dance with Lola.
As always, I will stop right there to avoid horrifying spoilers! This film is very intense! I’m honestly surprised at how dark it manages to go while still maintaing a hint of comedy. It was hard to look away from the disturbing things that transpire during this picture. But it’s not just torture for torture’s sake. The violence and the brutality are there, not to glorify violence, but to prove how utterly unhinged Lola and her family are. In terms of brutality, it may be on a par with films like Hostel but this is a character study and a look into the psyche of a deeply deranged, troubled girl and the father who will do anything to see that she is happy.
The performances in this flick are exceptional. Features that are primarily confined to a small setting and feature a small cast like this live or die based on wether or not the performers are fully committed. I think it’s safe to say that everyone involved with The Loved Ones committed one hundred percent. Each actor performed incredibly well and each character had a purpose. Lola was an absolute and total menace. And Robyn McLeavy brought her to life in a manner so convincing that I thought about it for days.
The Loved Ones isn’t a perfect film. There are minor problems with some of the logic the characters employ and other little missteps but because this film was so intelligently made and features such strong performances, those flaws are hardly noticable.
I would be lying if I said that The Loves Ones is not a disturbing film. You’ll definitely feel your skin crawling while watching it, but don’t let that deter you. The carnage serves a definite purpose and it is there to advance the storyline and offer insight into Lola’s extreme psychosis, not to glorify or celebrate senseless acts of violence.
The moral of the film, in a sentence: Never, ever decline someone’s invitation to a dance. You can check out The Loved Ones now on DVD and I would highly recommend that you do so as soon as possible!
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director: Sean Byrne
Writer(s): Sean Byrne
Stars: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine
Studio/ Production Co: Screen Australia
Length: 84 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller