The greatest Prom horror since Carrie! This stunning 2009 gem is one the best horror films to come from the land of Down Under. A mixture of Saw, Misery with a few shades of Lynch, The Loved Ones is a totally demented and wonderfully entertaining horror classic that even now, is still missed by the masses.
A film like this is why I love horror.
One of the reasons why its so frustrating being a horror fan is when Hollywood keeps going with their remake after remake of old classics and releasing needless sequels of tired old franchises when there are original films getting a release that sort of gets lost in the mix!
Over the years films like Dread, House Of The Devil, The Objective, The Torment, and Exhibit A have all came and gone with no fanfare, yet have blown fans away with their quality and yet while its one of the most annoying aspects of being a horror fanatic, there is also a great satisfaction when you stumble upon an unheard beauty, more so when you start to spread the word
Joining the list of best horror films of recent years is this delightful treat, The Loved Ones, a demented Australian horror that crosses Misery with Saw, but also manages to create its own unique identity.
This film had been wowing fans in festivals for over a year back in 2009 winning numerous awards, yet when it finally got released on DVD, it came with hardly no publicity and weirdly most high streets shops including the gone forever Blockbusters failing to stock it!
Thankfully over the years, the word has got out!
The Loved Ones has a barnstorming performance by Robin McLeavy to thank for moving the film up a level. All horrors need a great character, and her Lola is probably for me, the best for many of years, a truly terrific/horrific monster that will have you begging for me for more once the end credits start to roll.
Amazingly, she goes unnoticed for the first half. The film sort of starts all Disturbia, when a father and son, talking in a car gets involved in a car crash in which the dad dies and the son lives. Six months later and Brent (Xavier Samuel) is a wreck. His mother does not trust him to drive, and he blames himself for the death of his father. The only sole comfort he has is that of his girlfriend who in a clumsy sex scene, declares his love and promises her he will take her to the prom.
Another argument with his mother sends him for a walk to clear his head where he climbs a huge wall in what seems a suicidal attempt. This confused man has a death wish, but when he slips, panic engulfs him and while he survives, a smile appears and it suggests to the viewer this is moment that he finally embraces life.
But in a bitter twist of fate, he is soon knocked over the head and taken to a remote house where he notices Lola looking down at him. Lola we saw for five minutes at the beginning of the film, asking him to the prom which he kindly turned her down, but it seems what Lola wants, daddy gets, and after a slow start, the film turns into a dark humour/horror, that will delight many fans!
Brent is drugged and tied to a chair in which he has to watch as the house is turned into the school prom, Lola tries on her dress in which her father watches her undress, probably suggesting an incest relationship, and soon the cake and drink is in full flow. Its here that echo’s of David Lynch shine through. A quite surreal set up in which Brent is at the prom, but not with the girl he wants, and if you wondering where the horror comes from, its here, and its a real delight!
While the family unit of Lola brings comparisons to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre gang, the film really brings the Misery element to proceedings, especially when Brent tries to escape. Believe me, if you think the moment with James Cann and that hammer from Kathy Bates was bad, then a scene here surpasses that. Its here that the horror is a real look away moment, and a use of a drill is so outlandish and frightening, you wish that you were watching Marathon Man.
Loved Ones does not just go down the route of torture porn though. There is a real strength of character from all involved and there is a real surprising subplot from a locked cellar that brings a heck of a surprise to all those watching.
McLeavy is simply fantastic though. Seriously! She at first comes across all nice, but as the film goes on, her character is a real demented freak. A stunning bogeyman that deserves all the acclaim that she received . A real spoilt brat who takes what she wants and requires to a whole new level, and her despair to an event in what happens later on, will have you fearful to anyone who stands in her way.
Wonderfully directed by Sean Bryne who managed to created a sense of downright horror, even more, thanks to a very underrated but majestic musical score, The Loved Ones is a film that if missed your radar, needs to be rectified.
It does that rare thing by balancing the right blend of horror and humour, and even now 11 years later, still knocks the spots off most Hollywood releases…
It really is a Prom date you did not want to miss!