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The Loved Ones(2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Sean Byrne

Xavier Samuel/Brent
Robin McLeavy/Princess
Victoria Thaine/Holly
Jessica McNamee/Mia
8 10
Brent (Xavier Samuel) is an emotional wreck; dealing with a recent loss. And just when you thought his life couldn't get shittier; it does when he turns down an invitation to a school dance from fruity-hottie Lola (Robin McLeavy). It seems that what Lola wants...Lola gets; no matter the cost. Guess where that goes...
Note: This review was written in 2010 - the film just got its USA release in 2012.

I'll be honest with yall... I have been ducking Sean Byrne's THE LOVED ONES like I an STD ridden whore bitten by a pack of rage infected rats; why? Cause I was told that it was yet another “torture flick” and anybody that's been reading my reviews this year knows that I am “officially” overdosed on torture driven genre orgies. Played f*cking out in my lowly world! But with the end of the year upon us and my top 10 of 2010 rotting in the wings, I couldn't duck it no more. I had heard so many positive things about it that I couldn't do a TOP 10 list with a straight face without having had seen it. So I hunted it down, bent it over and thought it a lesson...old school. And ya know what... I'm freaking glad I did.

Yes THE LOVED ONES was at its core a torture horror film; but it had to be one of the more unique and well rounded modern torture jamborees since the original SAW. Its torture angle was more than just human butchery for the sakes of it; it had a couple of added layers tagged to its pink ass that elevated the whole above the usual red hot poker and vice grip fare. The hero characters helped in that matter, that's for damn sure!. They were fleshed out, flawed and credible human beings with honest relationships. Xavier Samuel who underwhelmed in that crud TWILIGHT ECRAP; showed us what he can do with a real script backing him up. His "rang oh so true" courtship with sexy Victoria Thaine's role and his character arc were the key reasons why the torture in the film had a purpose. Dude owned this movie with his solid and sympathetic show! Props mate! And surprisingly for a flick of this flavor; the four female leads in the house were portrayed as multidimensional characters as well. Although sex appeal was present no doubt; no one note bimbos here; we got real chicas to deal with. NICE! By result; I gave a shit about this lot; empathized with their plight, hence when the hammer swung down on them; man did I feel it. And the same went for the villains! They could've easily been portrayed as an over the top duo that did jack shite for me because they weren't based in a reality I believed in, thankfully; they came out swinging as two real-deal nut-balls that I feared big time. Nutso pops (John Brumpton) was one creepy perv, boiling with insanity and a raging boner for his daughter while loony hottie Lola was a horror force to be reckoned with and then some. Not only did she deliciously get nuttier and nuttier as the clock murdered forward; actress Robin McLeavy's "back-handingly" grounded performance for a role of this ilk; drove the part home with gusto. Straight up; Lola had horror icon engraved on her forehead! Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, my ex girlfriend, Michael Myers... I can add Lola's name to that psycho with the most list without blinking. Well earned!

On top of that; THE LOVED ONES was boosted to an even higher echelon  by its story and the way it was handled. The affair was akin to say a SHE'S ALL THAT directed by Satan himself. A film rooted in teen angst, that cleverly built its base via teen movie conventions but that then went horribly sour to take the happy-go-kill-kill TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE highway as opposed to the syrupy lane we know so well. How's that for a motherf*cking trip! For me, that was the key aspect that made THE LOVED ONES stand out and director Sean Byrne went to town with it like an untamed manimal. The girly music ("Am I pretty enough" that song drove me mad, in a good way), the blinding color pink all over the place, the sparkling set designs, the rotating disco ball... all chipper, feminine concepts, turned on on their severed heads to jack up the macabre joo-joo. Awesome! Visually Byrne showed off a heavy hitting style with stylish angles, a powerful use of slow motion and a firm grasp on how to generate tension laced scenes and their payoffs. The dude was aces when it came to handling his brutal moments too; knowing when to show and when to suggest (loved the sound effects here) for maximum whoopass. Add to all that a twisted sense of humor (reminded me of HEATHERS for some reason), a warped sexual streak, a brilliant use of music, witty dialogue (with gems like: You've got 10 seconds to go or Daddy's gonna nail it to the chair. ), an unpredictable nature that had me squeezing my nutsack in stress and a much appreciated tip of the axe to a 1991 Wes Craven horror flick and you get a colorful and sick f*ck nail biter that could of only come out of the Indie scene. Zeus bless it.

The only thing that stops me from giving this one a perfect score was its useless subplot of a bumbling kid (played to a T by Richard Wilson) on a date with some alkie, damaged Goth chick (Jessica McNamee). Although entertaining, funny and sporting the jaw dropping beautiful McNamee in varied forms of undress; I didn't see the point of  the subplot as to the big picture; beyond having something to cut away to that is. Sure they kind of eventually tied it up to the main narrative line; but it was pretty weak tit if ya ask me. Some tweaking of the script could've maybe justified that subplot's existence...or maybe not. But hey, what the f*ck do I know. So with that nailed to the chair; THE LOVED ONES was a potent shot of horror love! Gore, tension, laughs, sexiness... it was fairly tight from top to bottom. Seek it out and discover if Lola is indeed “pretty enough” for you! I'd do her, then I'd run...with her purse!
There was ample red stuff here! Mutilations, knives in feet, drill in the head, old fashioned cannibalism and more! I was satisfied!
T & A
Victoria Thane shows us her tangerines, Robin McLeavy reveals her tush (in panties) while Jessica McNamee kept the goods in house but revealed enough to please. Both ladies were smoking hot BTW. Where do I sign?
A teen movie on 6 tabs of acid and 9 hits of E! THE LOVED ONES was a groovy surprise! What could've been a pedestrian kidnap and torture opus wound up being a deep, genuine, gleefully frenzy, bleakly funny, sexually charged and heart pounding show. The superior writing, acting (props to the whole cast; yall really nailed it) and directing made sure of that! Granted although kind of amusing; that “dude takes train wreck chick out” subplot was somewhat pointless beyond acting as a cut-away but what can ya do. At least that boo-boo didn't change the fact that this movie was all kinds of “ownage” and that the Lola character should be accepted in the genre's icon fold with open arms and zipped down zipper. Bang this broad and let her bleed all over ya!
The flick was shot in Melbourne, Victoria.

The Loved Ones surprisingly failed at the Australian box office.

A Loved Ones prequel is in the works; yes Lola will be back.