Director/writer: Sean Byrne
Rated: n/a (nudity, gore)
Original release date: 2009 (Australia)
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Jessica McNamee, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine, and Richard Wilson
Brent (Samuel) is a troubled highschooler who loses his father in a car accident while he was driving. Ever since, he’s suffered depression and resorts to marijuana and music as an escape. He also has a surprisingly caring girlfriend, Holly (Thaine), who seems to be the one great thing he has in his life. On the day of prom, Brent is invited by Lola (McLeavy), but Brent of course declines. Big mistake, at least in Lola’s eyes.
Lola and her equally insane father then carry out a plan of revenge on Brent in which he’s subjected to demented torture. Through the evening Brent also learns he’s not the first of the crazy family’s victims. Meanwhile Holly and Brent’s mother begin to worry as Brent tries with all of his will to escape.
The film is full of dark and twisted images which are at times disturbing. The bizarre relationship between Lola and her father is perhaps the oddest thing about the movie. The pair play the parts so over the top and well. Their twisted tactics of revenge and how aroused they get in the process is just freaky.
The movie displays some excellent cinematography combined with some great musical selections that compliment each scene well. There are even some comic relief moments involving Brent’s best friend and his prom date, Mia (McLeavy) (who we learn later is a fairly important part of the story) which I thought balance the film’s tone well.
The Loved Ones marks Sean Byrne’s first full-length feature effort, and it clearly demonstrates that he has a lot of talent. The film keeps us on the edge of our seat, makes us care what happens to the characters, even manages to creep us out while also making us laugh it off at times. The story was unique enough to not let it be just another mindless gore flick, which we’re seeing too much of these days. A great effort from down under.
IMDb/trailer | Official movie site