About This Item

Preview Image for The Loved Ones
The Loved Ones (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000135716
Added by: David Beckett
Added on: 5/10/2010 13:26
View Changes

Other Reviews, etc
  • Log in to Add Reviews, Videos, Etc
  • Places to Buy

    Searching for products...

    The Loved Ones

    6 / 10

    I am extremely glad that the American phenomenon of 'the prom' hadn't crossed the Atlantic when I was in school and college as I can't believe the sheer expenditure, organisation and inevitable heartbreak that is associated with what should be one evening but, if you go from one school year to another and on to sixth form college, there will be more than one Prom Night. Just to show that it isn't just the UK that is affected by this end of school term dance, this Australian horror film is centred on this one big evening in the lives of many teenagers.

    The Loved Ones begins one evening when Brent Mitchell is driving down a country road and a bizarre figure, who appears out of nowhere, forces him to swerve and lose control with the result that he crashes into a tree. His father died in the freak accident and Brent turns to heavy metal music, self harm and disappearing for hours at a time with his pet dog and wearing a razor blade around his neck. The only bright spot in his life is his girlfriend Holly who is his date for the school prom. Because he has promised to go with her, he politely turns down a request from a quiet and very shy girl. Bad mistake.

    Inline Image

    It turns out that the girl, credited only as 'Princess', has had everything her own way at home and, although her mother is catatonic, her father will do just about anything for her including kidnapping her wanted prom date so they can have a macabre party at home. While Brent is out with his dog, a strange man appears from nowhere and knocks him out with chloroform, leaving his smashed cell phone and iPod behind. After taking the teenager back to his house, the man ties him to a chair for a twisted party with 'Princess' and her parents. This party is a strange mix of glitter, a new pink dress, a big disco ball and intravenous drugs, a big knife and a power drill.

    Meanwhile, there is another lad, Sac, who has taken Holly, the sheriff's daughter, to the prom but she really isn't interested in going to the party itself and only really wants to get high, drunk and kill time in his car away from her parents. Later on, you learn that this girl is somehow connected to 'Princess' but I won't reveal how or why to avoid a spoiler.

    This is the sort of film that John Hughes would have made if he had a mean streak a mile wide and the sort of penchant for violence and extremely uncomfortable scenes like someone like Tobe Hooper. Imagine Sixteen Candles if Samantha was a psychopath and you're more or less there!

    Inline Image

    With, aside from Xavier Samuel, a completely unknown cast, Sean Byrne has created something that is blackly funny, extremely bleak and with very violent torture sequences. This is by no means the finished article as the storyline involving Sac and Holly doesn't really seem to go anywhere and, even though it is linked to the main storyline, just feels slightly tacked on and could be linked more firmly to the main narrative arc in order to fully develop Holly's character.

    These quibbles aside, The Loved Ones is a fairly involving and interesting film with decent performances by all the cast members and some really strange plot twists and developments that just develop the characters of 'Daddy' and 'Princess' without the need for a great deal of dialogue or exposition. It had enough of violence and uncomfortable scenes to keep me interested for the entire running time and even though it is far from great film, I thought it was well written, directed and acted and keeps you involved throughout.

    Inline Image

    The Disc

    Extra Features
    There isn't a great deal of supplementary material, just interviews with writer/director Sean Byrne and the main cast members which don't really work as they are separated too firmly into distinct featurettes with a title card saying who is being interviewed, what their character is, how long the answer is and what question has been put to them so it feels extremely fractured. They don't really go into a great deal of detail either, with the questions concentrating on their particular love (or otherwise) of horror films unusual EPK guff surrounding what shooting was like, how they would describe their character etc.

    There is also a short amount of the B-roll footage which doesn't cost a great deal of light on how the film was made but it's probably worth a look anyway.

    Inline Image

    The Picture
    I was surprised at just how good the image quality was with vibrant colours, good contrast levels and quite realistic gore sequences that will have the more squeamish viewers covering their eyes.

    There is something about the Australian countryside that is a little like that in America where things are extremely spaced out and you can have a house that is miles from anywhere so you know that the person inside is really on their own, without much chance of getting help. This place quite well into the narrative as 'Princess' lives in an isolated house that you know Brent's chances of contacting the police are extremely low.

    Inline Image

    The Sound
    You have the choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo and there really isn't much to choose between them as the 5.1 track is predominantly frontloaded and sounds exactly the same as the stereo option apart from in a few scenes when music plays or when the rear surrounds occasionally come to life because of some atmospherics or another character.

    Inline Image

    Final Thoughts
    I quite enjoyed The Loved Ones despite its flaws and really just took it for what it was: a low budget Australian horror film from director making his feature film debut. It isn't up there with the likes of Wolf Creek, Black Water or Dying Breed, but it is a fairly entertaining and, at times uncomfortable, a film which shows that Sean Byrne has some promise if he wants to continue as a horror director.

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Be the first to post a comment!