Now, torture horror, why do I keep seeing films like this? I have seen several recent films of this 'genre', as well as the most classic of the old ones, several french ones with pretty good reviews in here, Japanese , American, you name it (Rob Zombie films and french Martyrs among the best of the lot IMO) - many reviewers went as far as to underestimate the importance and value of Saw and Hostel series by calling them mainstream, Hollywood and such.
Well, for me, torture horror does not become better, more arty, less hollywoodish or more extreme by pretentiousness, nor by lack of script. Depth and no extremity alone is what made the better extreme films be the best ones of their kind.
Torture alone with no script is no proof of a creators authenticity or artiness, rather, it's the proof the torture is used for commercial reasons aiming to viewers that "have seen it all". Don't get this wrong, this is not all bad, but in my eyes it's a cheap excuse to see some more torture. No catharsis, no deep characters, acting is OK though.
Most of the torture horror I have seen seems to hope to become something important by being only torture horror with no script (AKA why do the villains do what they do? is there depth in them?). So most of the times the 'script' is so thin it's insulting, so I'd better watch Grotesque (2009) again, than this: it doesn't try at all to be something else from what it is: torture porn for people who've seen it all in such a degree, so that a script might work as a distraction from the torture.
Grotesque has to be one of the most sincere ones, and one of those that makes you feel real dirty after watching. Not the way Hostel or Saw made you feel, as those are entertaining. The loved ones just didn't live up to its premise for me. Doesn't qualify as a decent film, only as torture horror.
I would only recommend this for torture horror fans, and then again, there are much better films to make you feel sick and depraved for watching or whatever it is you are looking for in such a film.
All in all, "The loved ones" has decent acting. But whats the point if you got a no-story? Torture porn / torture horror 'subgenre' failed to become even a small fraction of the masterpieces that are Saw and Hostel. Maybe because it became a subgenre, while the whole point of it was the horror.
The horror in torture comes from both the tortured one and the torturer. So the most recent films decided to prevent us from seeing the torturers point of view, thus the horror degraded into 'porn' for torture porn freaks.
Even some of the recent euro-films of this kind has this fault - we don't get to see enough of the bad guys motivations.
See only if you have to.