Title: The Loved Ones
Director/ Writer: Sean Byrne
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Vicotoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee, Richard Wilson, John Brumpton
Date: 2009 (but finally released in US in 2012)
Brent (Xavier Samuel), the handsome metalhead, was involved in an accident that caused his father's death a year earlier. He lives with that regret. But, now he is a high school senior and is ready to take his pretty girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine), to the prom. When cute Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks him out to the prom; he rejects her. He is too soon regret, this. While, listening to music and chilling with his dog, he gets kidnapped by her insane Daddy (John Brumpton). He is tied to a chair and forced to be her prom date where he endures such tortures as being forced to pee, having salt thrown on his fresh wounds, getting knives hammer into his feet, and more. Inter-cut between all of this is his friend Jamie (Richard Wilson) going on his prom with breathtaking goth beauty Mia (Jessica McNamee), who we discover more about as the movie progresses, as well as Brent's mom and girlfriend, who try desperately to find out what has happened to him. All this time Brent has to with stand the horrid torture he is recieveing, but how long can he last?
Made in 2009, but only now getting a release here in the US, this amazing Australian horror film is destined to be a future classic. It has been getting a lot of praise, all of which it deserves, as it is the single best horror film to come out of the country ever, and the best movie to come from Down Under since The Road Warrior. Byrne has crafted a funny, nasty, sometimes disturbing, and pretty much always intense teen horror flick, that is best described as Pretty in Pink meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
There is a great sense of dark humor that makes the movie quite funny, ranking it as one of the best black comedies out there. That said, it also is nail-bitingly suspenseful. The gore and violence is hard and vicious, cutting between what you see and what you don't see. Excellent gore effects keep this out of the safe zone, at all times. And, I was, quite honestly, on the edge of my seat when the climax finally hit.
Much of this is not just due to credit of the excellent script and directing, but the acting, as well. Without such fine performances this one would have fallen apart. Samuel is a likable and strong protagonist. You cheer for him and are always on his side. Besides, he's a metalhead! It's always great to see a headbanger play the hero! McNamee is a goddess! I was seriously in love with her in this movie. She smokes pot, drinks, headbangs, and is both sexy and sympathetic. She is my new horror crush! A stunning beauty that looks like the hotter offspring of Angelina Jolie and Liv Tyler, she actually a big star in her native country. Brumpton is positively terrifying as a Daddy, a man who would do anything for his princess. But, it's the cute McLeavy that is the movie's standout. She is both cute and completely bat-shit crazy. Even if you crush on her at first, you will be cheering for her death, as the movie progresses, trust me. This is just such proof of the excellent quality that the movie has.
Those of you looking for some skin, will be happy, too. Thaine gets topless. McNamee also gets topless, but sadly covers the goods. That said she gives the movie's sexiest performance. You will be in love, trust me! McLeavy appears in bra and panties, so we get a little bit of skin from each of the movie's three females leads. But, it should be noted that when we see McLeavy in said state of semi-undress her dad is looking at her in a moment that will add to the disturbing aspect of this masterpiece.
Unquestionably, one of the year's best horror films, The Loved Ones, is a movie you need to see. I haven't been able to stop talking or thinking about this one, since I viewed it yesterday. And, the more, I do think about it, the more I like it. There are lots of suprises throughout the film, but I don't wanna ruin them for you. Just see it as soon, as you are able to!!
**** out of ****