FrightFest 2010: The Loved Ones

Plot When high-school hunk Brent turns down Lola for a date at the prom, she decides to kidnap him to have her very own bloody prom at home.

Review “What Lola wants, Lola gets” and unfortunately for high-school hunk Brent (played by Eclipse star Xavier Samuel), misfit and social outcast Lola wants him...

After being involved in a car accident, which killed his father, high-schooler Brent is a shell of his former self. Suicidal, self-harming and spending most of his time alone, the only glimmer of hope in his otherwise pointless existence is his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine), but after politely turning down an invitation to go to the prom from awkward Lola, Brent is about to find out what hell is really like as Lola decides to go ahead with her perfect prom plans and events take a horrible diversion into mayhem.

Lola is a daddy's girl, and daddy doesn't think anything of kidnapping his precious daughter's date and doing everything necessary to ensure she has the perfect prom – cue an array of home tool torture including power drills and knives. Lola's dad (John Brumpton) is both creepy and terrifying in equal measure, and the almost incestuous relationship between father and daughter is suitably twisted thanks to Robin McLeavy (Lola) performing a great balancing act between a woman unhinged and a lost little girl who just wants to be loved, which she executes to perfection.

First time director Sean Byrne shows his flair and diversity in this beautifully colourful film that isn't afraid to get dirty and gritty when it needs to, whilst still being fun and cutesy at times. A gruesome, yet refreshing look at teen love and angst, The Loved Ones walks a fine line between black comedy and horror (in the vein of Saw and Hostel) and hits all the right notes.

It is the detail that really makes this a stand out film, from the household items used to implement torture of the worst kind (come on, a kettle?!) down to the force-feeding of fried chicken (“is it finger-lickin' good?”), not to mention the incredible soundtrack, the main song of which is now horribly etched on my brain for eternity - surely the best character song to ever come from a horror film: “Am I not pretty enough?...”

With the same teen flick feel as any John Hughes movies, but with the brutality and black humour of the likes of Misery, this film is definitely not one for the squeamish. The Loved Ones has been touted by some as Pretty in Pink meets The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and what you see in the poster is pretty much what you get; the candy-coloured décor of the movie is a fitting juxtaposition to the twisted violence and torment that lies underneath.

Not one to miss, this little gem is proof that Aussie horror is alive and kicking.

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