The Loved Ones – skin-deep Aussie torture porn

First, the good news: Australian horror movie The Loved Ones looks very good. Nice effects, effective acting — I really enjoyed Lauren McLeavey’s psycho killer Lola — and some wicked camera work (there’s a gorgeous shot, coming out of a cellar, with mirror ball highlights moving across the ceiling). Special effects were on the money.

It’s a high school horror drama, set in regional Victoria, in which, as you will gather from the trailer, a side-lined girlfriend gets even with the help of her good ol’ dad (best line: this one’s for the Kingswood!), while the victim’s girlfriend is left to pine and his best buddy gets it on with the self-destructive goth girl (sigh).

Note that the core plot ie boy being tortured, and the secondary plot ie sex with goth girl, have little to do with each other.

And therein lies the rub. The connection between the characters and even the scenes in this flick just don’t add up. Just what kind of movie are we watching here — high school drama, family grief drama, edgy comedy, sicko horror? I’m sure I was laughing at the wrong times for all the wrong reasons, here.

There is so little development of character — here is the guilt-ridden hero, feel sorry for him; here is the patient girlfriend, cheer for her; here is light relief in good-hearted side-kick and here is the total outsider who, in some strange act of self-humiliation, deigns to date the class loser for the night of the formal (I think the reason that she’s goth, or maybe emo, I can’t tell after a certain age these days without hearing the music, is because she HAS SUFFERED LOSS: hence the fashionable black, the drugs, the booze, the screwing). (Nice girl Holly gives blow jobs, but they’re for the good of others.)

Lola the psycho could’ve been fascinating, but sadly she’s psycho from the moment the light goes green and has nowhere else to go. I really wanted to know her, her and her dad, and how it had come to this, but nup, it was all power drills and emotional power plays. Oh, and there’s a quasi-zombie moment.

The movie could’ve been fascinating: a history of disappearances, guilt-addled and grief-stricken dysfunctional families, and some really cool defensive driving lessons were all on the cards here, but alas, style held all the aces.

Anyway, it’s a solid little slice and dice if you’re up for seeing some people suffer, even if it is short on logic and lacking in give-a-damn, and the actors do a great job with what they’ve got. And it really does look very good.

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4 thoughts on “The Loved Ones – skin-deep Aussie torture porn

  1. Hi. Saw the film last night and thought it was lots of fun.There is a connection between the sub-plot and the main Brent / Lola storyline, which I think you may have missed. Goth girl has lost her brother and his body has not been found. Lola and Daddy tell Brent about “the one that got away”, followed by a picture of a missing teenager in her scrapbook, followed by big close up of a news paper clipping saying something about Policeman’s family in despair following son’s disappearance. Then we see the photo by the policeman’s bedside table is the same as the photo in Lola’s scrapbook. So it’s eventually revealed as a twist that the kid on the road at the beginning was goth girl’s brother and is still missing, hence her grief / destructive behaviour.

    And I kind of thought the fun of the movie was laughing in all the ‘wrong’ places.

  2. Hey, thanks for dropping me a line. I did actually pick up on the missing boy being the brother, but y’know, a connection does not a subplot make 😉

  3. Strangely, I just got free tickets to see this movie tonight – how long has it been out for?
    A nice little suspense-horror which kept the entire audience wincing all the way through.
    Like you, I was keen to know the history of Lola, Dad and Brighteyes. It would have been great to get a little more insight into these characters, but perhaps having that mystery helped with the suspense?

    Good to see some ‘low budget’ Australian movies back on the big screen again.

  4. It hasn’t hit general release yet. It’s certainly accomplished; I think the kids will love it 🙂

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