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THE LOVED ONES
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Sean Byrne

Starring:
John Brumpton
Richard Wilson
Andrew S. Gilbert
Xavier Samuel
Robin McLeavy

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
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 Although he has a girlfriend, the quiet and seemingly withdrawn Lola asks him to the year's end dance.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 missing.

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.
The Extras
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).
Last Call
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!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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