Released Down Under in 2009 but withheld from US audiences until 2012, I hadn’t even heard of The Loved Ones until recently. Now I’m asking, “Um, where have you been all my life?” This film begs a knee-jerk comparison to Otis (sounds like a great double feature to me) but goes so much farther down the bottomless pit it’s ridiculous. Proof positive that Australians make fucking amazing Horror films.
Read my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: Lola Stone asked Brent Mitchell to the prom, but Brent said no, and now he’s screwed. What happens when Lola doesn’t get what she wants? She enlists Daddy’s help to throw a prom of her own, where she is queen and Brent is king — whether he likes it or not. THE LOVED ONES is what happens when puppy love goes horribly, violently wrong. Brent should have said yes…
This film benefits immensely from its sub-plot wherein nice guy Jamie (*cough*nerd*cough*) lands a date with a young Goth goddess way out of his league. While the two stories seem, at first, to have only the most tenuous of connections, the film’s conclusions brings disparate threads together with skill akin to what Robert Altman displayed in Shortcuts.
The film’s brutal offerings are few and far between, hardly the focus of TLO’s story-arch, but what there is goes all the way up to 11. This film is not for the squeamish sporting effects that are absolutely disgusting—very hyper-realistic depictions of extreme mutilation. The tortures Brent endures are far beyond the suffering of your average horror movie victim. And just when it seems like things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they do—MUCH worse. Brent, you are fucking HARD.
The humor is deceptively serious. While it brings necessary relief from the scenes of extreme brutality, we’re set up to laugh now and cry later. Lola has created a fortress of glitter and unicorns where she remains mentally frozen around age 12—but is there a sinister reason for her stunted development? Jamie and Mia may party like they’re in Superbad, but we’re left looking into the broken soul of a stereotypical bad girl (where we, too, are shattered). Somewhere between the film’s shocking twist and Mia’s secret pain it hits you—this movie has heart.
And what else can I say about the above-mentioned “twist”. It’s completely fucking insane, like, Christ on ice—off the goddamn chain! I’ll probably never get some of these images out of my brain. Just wicked CRAZY.
Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of TLO’s is the idea of something small having far reaching and disastrous repercussions. The date you decline, or the car you cut off, or even just the sideways look you give a stranger… What if a thoughtless moment like this changes the world—irrevocably? Fuck if I know.
The Loved Ones is the kind of movie that makes Horror aficionados proud of the genre. I would recommend this film to anyone with a thirst of powerful, cathartic cinematic experiences.
4.5 out of 5 Skull Heads
|Release Date (US)||June 1 2012|
|Starring||Jessica McNamee, Richard Wilson, Victoria Thaine, Xavier Samuel, John Brumpton, Robin McLeavy|
|Tagline||“Prom Night Can Be Torture.”|