The Loved Ones (2012)
Critic Consensus: Successfully mixing the conventions of the teen and horror genres with a twist, Australian director Sean Byrne makes a striking directorial debut.
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Critic Reviews for The Loved Ones
The pacing is choppy but Byrne serves a thick, satisfying stew of savagery and surprise sympathy, generously flavoured by lashings of black humour.
The torture-porn genre gets a Day-Glo makeover in this hilariously deranged Ocker shocker.
Sean Byrne has established himself as one hell of a guy to watch with his first feature film, delivering something bright, brand new and deeply felt.
Audience Reviews for The Loved Ones
Prom night can be torture, and The Loved Ones takes that literally as Lola Stone captures Brent Mitchell and gives him a prom night he will remember, filled with hammering knives through his feet, lobotomy, cutting, and more. An incredibly intense and cringing addition to extreme horror that manages to explore many themes of teen isolation amidst all the violence.
It's just really messed up, with no great pay-off.
One might call this a ludicrous, mindless incentive to the recent trend of torture porn films. But the antagonists in "The Loved Ones" have genuine motives, which adds to their entirely believable depictions. Simply, this is a disturbing, intelligent, terrifying film. The premise itself is a real stroke of genius. Essentially, "Carrie" meets "Hostel". Nobody should be put off by that mix because it is a great deal more suspenseful, intelligent, and in every way superior to "Hostel". It's harder than it may seem to make a truly disturbing slasher, it has to have the ability to avoid looking ridiculous and has to be directed well enough to avoid being amateurish. But Sean Byrne get's absolutely everything correct, from believable characters, to a wittily written script, to moments that leave you right on the edge of your seat, to a truly fist-knawing finale. It's a bonus that it makes many tips and numerous nods to classics such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for fans of genre. Which actually caused me to grin a few times. Not because it was at any point laughable, it's absolutely far from amusing, but as a result of a director who kept my confidence in his talents up. He proved he understands what it requires to make a slasher actually worth seeing. But the greatest stand out is easily Robin McLeavey, you don't see many actresses who can do "psycho bitch", and boy can boy can she pull it off. Bottom line; a mixture of good performances, outstanding direction and decent scriptwriting. It's everything a horror fan could want. And I liked it very much.
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