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In order to avoid a ghostly figure in the road, high school senior Brent Mitchell wraps his car around a tree, killing his father. Constantly confronted by his mother's emotional collapse after the accident, Brent escapes into a marijuana fueled world of loud metal music to block the pain and guilt. Dejected and out of sorts, he has a shot at happiness with his girlfriend Holly, a grounded, caring girl with drop dead good looks, a dream date for the high school prom. But his plans are thwarted by a disturbing series of events that take place under a mirrored disco ball, involving pink satin, glitter, syringes, nails, power drills and a secret admirer. Brent has become the prom king at a macabre, sadistic event where he is the entertainment. Written by
The Loved Ones is written and directed by Sean Byrne and stars Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy and John Brumpton. An Australian horror, the plot sees Brent Mitchell (Samuel) kill his father in a car accident. Stricken with grief he attempts to get on with his life aided by his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine). But when the quietest girl in school, Lola Stone (McLeavy), asks him to the prom and he says no, he finds that he is suddenly the prom king star of a very different sort of party....
Kinda sick, kinda twisted, but an utterly compelling Aussie blood letting exercise that transcends torture porn whilst revelling in a sick sense of humour. With wry observations on teen angst and meditations on grief, loneliness, alienation and forbidden desires, Sean Byrne's film isn't out to solely shock the audience. With an evidently small budget to work from, Byrne has kept things tight and minimalist, this aids the film considerably, adding a sort of realism to the characters before it goes into overdrive as Brent (Samuel superb) finds that politely turning down Lola's (McLeavy a wonderfully monstrous creation) request has opened up (literally) a new world of pain. There's a misstep of a subplot involving another fumbling Goth couple actually going to the real prom, it serves no purpose other than to up the horny angst quota, but this is mostly slick/sick stuff. Backed by a kicking soundtrack, that's headed by the reoccurring Kasey Chambers hit single "Not Pretty Enough", itself creepy personified, The Loved Ones is highly recommended to horror fans who like a bit of torture in their diets. 8/10
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