THE LOVED ONES
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Andrew S. Gilbert
What's it about
Brent and his Dad suffer a nasty car accident which gets his Dad killed after swerving to avoid someone in the middle of the road. Brent's pretty twisted over it and becomes super depressed. Although he has a girlfriend, the quiet and seemingly withdrawn Lola asks him to the year's end dance. He turns her down, which leads to his eventual kidnapping and torture at the hands of Lola and her insane father.
Is it good movie?
This movie is a real masterpiece, and the fact that it seems to be
getting a wide release now is super fantastic. It mixes the charm of
old John Hughes teenage dramas with a healthy and ungodly twisted dose
of Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon from the captivating thriller, Misery.
The flick wastes no time and isn't bloated one little bit. It knows the
points it wants to make, trims the fat and presents you with a pretty
visceral, gross, tense and even funny film. The focus is (naturally) on
relationships- the tight, sometimes uncomfortable bond between parent
and child, and of course the loss of love and infatuation with another.
It helps quite a bit that the cast is absolutely top-notch and
magnificent all around. The movie is absolutely owned by Robin McLeavy,
as our twisted prom-queen-to-be Lola. She's off her rocker here and
doesn't show a ton of human emotion. Lola is a skewed character who
treats her victims like shattered playthings. She depends heavily on
her gross, disturbed (and just about completely inappropriate) father,
played by John Brumpton.
On the hero side, we've got Brent, who has been through some seriosu
trauma in his life, but manages to let some of the positive light shine
through his entire performance, which helps the audience connect with
him. The guy is put in an incredible un-enviable position of facing
death through horrific torture (I'll get to that later), to retaliate
and escape with his life. Even Holly (Victoria Thane) is played well,
as she never gives up the fight to find her boyfriend once he goes
Sure, the budget is small, but the flick doesn't show it on screen. The
movie is edited tightly and shot creatively, with a minimal sort of
design that adds a real sense of realism. But don't worry, because the
flick certainly shifts into high gear, and never looks back. I won't
spoil it for you, but if this movie doesn't make you cringe at some of
the violence it both demonstrates and implies, I don't know what will.
Half the "fun" is watching what happens when Lola doesn't get her way.
One way or another, you'll be cheering til the end, and you likely
won't find yourself cheering for the bad girl.
Video / Audio
Video comes to us in 2.35:1 widescreen, and although it
can be a little dark, the movie is detailed, sharp and colors are
pretty well represented.
Audio comes in Dolby 5.1, which is clear, well
balanced and really starts kicking butt when it counts.
Unfortunately, there's only one real extra, a series of interviews with the Cast and Crew.
Each interview runs less than ten minutes, and there are some with
Robin McLeavy, Xavier Samuel, and Justin Dix (FX supervisor).
We've all been teenagers before (hell, I'm sure some of you still are).
We know the pain of lost lust, love, infatuation, whatever you want to
call it. No, I don't think the Loved Ones is really chock full of
intense, deep meaning but we can all identify with the pain of being a
silly young adult. Don't bog yourself down with logic- watch this
insane, ramped up teenage hellride that you won't soon forget. It
deserves your attention!