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The Loved Ones Reviews

Page 1 of 51
Edward B

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2014
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.
Kevin C

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2013
It's just really messed up, with no great pay-off.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2012
Ever wonder what it would be like if a John Hughes movie turned into a horror flick? Well,here it is! "The Loved Ones" is about a loner girl named Lola(Robin McLeavy) who asks Brent(Xavier Samuel) to prom,and he nicely declines. What he doesn't know,is Lola is a psychopath and has an even crazier dad. They kidnap Brent,and proceed to torture him. Reminded me a lot of the origional "texas chainsaw massacre" when they're all around the table. One screwed up family,that's for sure. I love torture horror movies,especially ones that don't go so overboard it's unreal. This comes close to going overboard,and in some ways does, but it's very much grounded in reality. You'll never look at a power drill the same way again. I've only seen one other Australian horror movie that I can recall, "wolf Creek". "Creek" was slow,then smacked you in the face with some pretty crazy horror. This wastes little time before thrusting you in, and runs at a brisk 85 minutes. This is better than just about all the american horror movies over the last 5 years probably. Fan of horror, then you have to check this out. If you have a quesy stomach, then watch a PG movie with your loved ones.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

August 26, 2011
The Loved Ones isn't immediately likable, in fact, I found myself annoyed at all the classic horror 'nods' (influences/rip offs) and wondered if I cared enough to stay up late to keep watching. I'm a little tired this morning but I'm glad I did. The Loved Ones definitely grows on you, it has a disjointed charm about it - I'm not sure if this is a serendipitous bonus due to it being very similar to the films that have been an obvious influence to director Sean Byrne or not but the fact that the film is shot so beautifully makes me think it stands on its own merit. Sean Byrne has thought about every single shot, all are composed beautifully and all add that certain Je ne sais quoi a horror film needs to be a success - or to at least stand out against the rest. The sub-plot seems unnecessary but there was something about it I quite liked about it, Robin McLeavy was great in her role and I look forward to seeing more from Byrne, so far he's keeping the tradition that pretty much all Aussie horror films are ace!
Luke B

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2011
In this creepy and simple horror thriller, a young man says no to a girl and starts to regret it. This is one of those torture porn movies, but with more attention paid to the overwhelming dread, than to the acts themselves. Imagine an extension of the dinner scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you'll be on the right track. The film plays with the conventions of power, as a young man is held hostage by a girl, who also has control over her father. This unsettling series of twists makes it even creepier. It is all played with some dark Australian humour, which borders on the brink of sick chuckles and uncomfortable shifting for the viewer. Many of the characters are overcoming a loss of some kind, which runs parallel to the controlling ways of McLeavy. She is unable to let things go, or not get her way, twisting her mind into something chaotic. One for the horror fans.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

October 13, 2010
Pretty damn gory for an Australian film. I wasn't expecting it to be so "torture pornish" - I don't know why. I guess it's being pitched as horror crossed with Pretty in Pink made me expect a slightly unbalanced unrequited love story gone wrong. It definitely wasn't that. Yes, our villain wears a pink prom dress and is close to her father (a little too close in this case!), but that's where the similarity ends! This is one twisted, cringeable, horrible girl!
It is actually pretty decent for it's genre. All the actors are pretty good, though I had not heard of any of them. Xavier Samuel makes Brent sympathetic even though he is clearly not at his best here after the death of his father in a car accident, which he blames himself for. Victoria Thaine is likeable as Holly and Robin McLeavy and Richard Wilson as the father and daughter from hell - I am speechless! (As is Brent himself). What a horrible pair and the things they did to this poor guy were horrible. Ditto "bright eyes". The power drill was especially hard to watch. I had to turn away from this one many, many times.
Well, I don't think I will be watching it again any time soon, but yeah, a pretty good movie, though really horrible.
Emily A

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2011
*sigh* There are all kinds of things wrong with this movie. I didn't find it enjoyable at all. I guess I like my torture porn a little less painful than this. It's like Sean Byrne took the trope "Break The Cutie" and made a film out of it. I was shown this film by someone who doesn't watch enough horror movies, and therefore can't tell the good ones from the bad ones. If however, you've already seen Captivity and Otis, you will find The Loved Ones profoundly disappointing. It lacks the feverish focus of Captivity and won't deliver the pain, bloodshed and brutality at a satisfying pace. It lacks the humour and humanity that gave Otis its charm and lift. This movie cuts back and forth between its sadistic butchery and inconsequential characters in such a way that when it completely fails to culminate in a satusfying conclusion, you're even more pissed off since the structure promised it would. This movie throws away its exposition and doesn't flesh out the backstory you notice and care about. This movie gets points for granting the main victim a formidable measure of mental prowess, but not many. The technical ineptitude and general mean spirit of the monsters in this movie bothered me a lot, and there was a real lack of finesse to thier methods. I almost regret watching this.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2010
I believe The Loved Ones pitched as Pretty in Pink meets Wolf Creek is correct!
The unsettling horror/black comedy takes the American Prom Horror Film and turns it on its head. Laconic, very Australian humour, combined with twists on the usual "gorno" story, elevates it above standard torture porn.
Tasmanian-born, first-time feature director Sean Byrne mashes a polyglot of styles and influences and comes up with something entirely new in the genre - a candy-coated nightmare.
The juxtaposition of small-town Australian life with soulless horror is hilarious and horrifying, the performances of John Brumpton and Robin McLeavy magnetic.
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

November 8, 2010
This insane, torture-horror film from Australia takes all those films belonging to the so called 'Splatter horror' or in modern Critical parlance, 'torture porn' genre, to a new level.

"The Loved Ones" clubs the genre, already made popular by the Australian-American collaboration that is the "Saw" series or the grislier "Hostel" films made by American film-maker Eli Roth, with a facetious approach by showing some wildly demented individuals in acts which disturb as well as successfully manage to draw some guilty chuckles from the viewer!

Brent (Xavier Samuel) is a heavy-metal loving student who is still recovering from the trauma of a car crash that killed his father. He considers himself responsible as he was behind the wheel when it happened. When he is not trying to block the guilt by smoking pot and playing some loud heavy metal mayhem on his personal stereo, he spends time with his loving girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine) with whom he makes plans to go to the high school prom.

Sometime before the dance Brent is approached by a schoolmate, Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) who asks him if he could go the dance with her. When he politely refuses saying he has as a date with Holly, Lola is thoroughly disappointed. Lola's heartbreak mounts when she sees Brent and Holly making out in a car. Right at that instant, the look on Lola's face almost screams 'vengeance'!

But Lola looks so cute, one would be easily fooled into believing that she couldn't hurt a fly!

But all these assumptions on the viewer's part are shattered as the film takes a terrifying turn and Brent finds himself in the midst of a ghastly, never-ending nightmare, which is Lola's sadistic plan of seeking revenge....


One of the most impressive aspects of this film, I must mention (no spoilers here), is the cleverly ironic usage of the song "Not pretty enough" by Kasey Chambers juxtaposed against some disturbing imagery from scenes that take place in Lola's house and in her bedroom as she looks through her albums and memorabilia. The song is also very apt as it strongly relates to Lola's character of a rejected, not-so-popular girl in school. It is here that we are given a sample of Lola's strange behavioral characteristics and her frighteningly weird domestic environment.


For the most part, the writer-director, Sean Byrne succeeds in creating a deathly atmosphere in this almost claustrophobic thriller. He also shows us something very original in most of the film. It would have made a greater impact if he had maintained this originality instead of borrowing some scenes (very obviously inspired) from some earlier films. Also, there are quite a few instances of implausible happenings in some scenes. But what else can you do in such a film with over-the-top violence! Some suspension of disbelief is required on part of the viewer.


All said and done, watch this film for a fabulously demented, superlative performance from Robin McLeavy and for some commendable creativity on the part of the film-maker Sean Byrne in successfully making a tongue-in-cheek 'splatter film'!
c0up
c0up

Super Reviewer

November 11, 2010
'The Loved Ones'. I think AICN said it best; a truly demented masterpiece! Gory as hell with ample servings of dark humour
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

November 6, 2010
"The trick is not to go too far. Just enough to break through the skull."

When Brent turns down his classmate Lola's invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.

REVIEW
I thought it lacked direction at first but they were simply starting things with a simmer and very slowly bringing them to a boil and I mean slowly. This is a very good off the grid feel film with great production quality. Initially once it takes off I feared it was going to turn into a turd dive bombing straight into the toilet, it did the exact opposite.

It's gory, morbid and capitalizes on a few true events as well as containing elements from a few other horror movies which I'm sure inspired these aspects. You can see a few scenarios coming well in advance and make a lot of connections but they were still creative and worth implementing. Last House on the Left, The People Under the Stairs, Jeffrey Dahmer, Storm Warning etc. It's kindred to these films without actually ripping them off.

Lots of suspense and complete satisfaction by the time it's over. This film definitely has high re-watch value and I'm sure will become a cult classic that in 10 years is still sought after at video stores, movie sites and where ever else you'll be getting your movies by then.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

October 20, 2010
I have to admit that I'd never even heard of "The Loved Ones" until one of my Australian friends started posting things about it. In my defence, I don't think Australia has ever been known for a producing a lot of horror films and even Wikipedia only lists forty-four of them (some of which aren't really horror at all). When Australia does horror it can either be very bad or very good unlike Canadian horror, for instance, which dips and rises just around the average level every time. If you've never seen an Australian horror film before in your life then, firstly, shame on you, and, secondly, prepare yourself to either love it or hate it as there really is no inbetween. Aussies, in general, have a similar sick sense of humour to Brits which is often quite a brutal surprise to Americans. I also don't think I've ever seen an Australian movie of any kind yet which conforms to Hollywood derived formulas.
The only recent movie that I can think of which has a similar look and feel to it as "The Loved Ones" is the British "Mum & Dad" (2008). Both were funded with some kind of arts grant and so you can be sure that the creativity involved far outweighs the budget. Even so, neither of these films suffer from the piss-poor shaky-cams of low-budget American independents and have very high production values. Basically, "The Loved Ones" is all about having a good story with lots of tension and decent practical effects. Yeah, old school horror movie making at its best.
The only thing which "The Loved Ones" shares with the American nasties is that you won't have heard of anyone involved in it. Unless you are a Twihard then Xavier Samuel, who plays the lead here, won't even be familiar to you as Riley from "Eclipse". In fact he looks so completely different that you won't even think it was the same actor anyway. The rest of the cast have all been around the Australian TV circuit including the soaps so you won't know who any of them are either. I find all this anonymity very refreshing but I don't think Robin McLeavy, who plays Lola, will stay hidden away for much longer. She was fantastic.
The acting was incredibly well done overall. Although all of the characters were either a bit quirky or just downright demented, I didn't spot a weak performance anywhere. It was all played reasonably straight even if there were quite a few intentionally amusing moments and the whole thing was a very black comedy anyway. "The Loved Ones" has a slightly lighter feel to it than "Mum & Dad" but it's still pretty gruesome and twisted. It really is difficult to place into a niche as it isn't as ridiculous as any of Peter Jackson's stuff (and, yes, I do know he's a Kiwi) but it's not as mean-spirited as Sam Raimi's earlier work either. Some scenes do homage both these directors though but it really is an homage not a blatant rip-off.
I'm sure there'll be a few people who will claim "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" inspired a lot of the scenes too and I can agree with them to a point. If you are going to have any kind of twisted murderous family set-up in a movie then obviously there will be similarities to others in the same subgenre. But just as "Mum & Dad" had more in common with the real life serial killers Fred and Rosemary West than "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" so, too, "The Loved Ones" has undoubtedly been inspired by some of the even more incredible true crimes that have been revealed in the last few years. Abduction and torture are nothing new to the horror genre anyway. No matter how much "torture porn" you've seen, "The Loved Ones" is still something a little bit different.
Before I give away the plot even more than the trailer already does, I need to mention a couple of specific things that stood out for me. The first was the sex scene between Xavier Samuel and Victoria Thaine. If you've already seen "The Loved Ones" then you'll understand exactly where I'm coming from with this. All I'm going to say is "moles" and "razor blade round his neck". To those of you who haven't seen this yet but have seen a certain "Austin Powers" movie, just have a nice long twig at the ready. Yes, I found this scene very distracting but not in the way it was probably intended. If the words, "Bite it off!" escape your lips at any point then you are coming with me straight to Hell, okay?
Second, although I can almost tie up the subplot with Richard Wilson and hot goth chick Jessica McNamee as a kind of nicer parallel to the more horrific events that were going on, I wanted all the characters to come together at the end and I was waiting for something that never happened. The more I think about it, the cleverer it all gets because the story didn't take that too predictable route but maybe it should have done. If there is a flaw then that is it but without the subplot there wouldn't have been some important details filled in either. I'm still undecided on whether it really worked or not.
Anyway, I actually think that "The Loved Ones" was one of the best Australian horror movies that I've seen for a long time. Don't even try to compare it to the crap that was "Wolf Creek" because you don't have to wait until the film is almost over for the action to kick-off here. When things start happening they don't really let up and the "torture porn" elements are far more brutal than anything in the "Hostel" movies even if most of the real grisliness occurs off camera.
I'm happy to rate "The Loved Ones" as a definite 8 out of 10 based on nothing but the sheer pleasure it gave me to watch it. I always feel that it's a bit of a cop out when people say things like, "Yeah, it was bad but very entertaining" and rate an utterly worthless film higher than it should be just because they have no taste or discernment. "The Loved Ones" is not in that category at all even if it is a teeny bit superficial. "The Loved Ones" is a film that horror fans will really enjoy because it's actually good, is very well made, and is a quality product all round.
Incidentally, God only knows how Bloody-Disgusting got a mention on the trailer as "The Loved Ones" is a good film, has nothing to do with Platinum Dunes, and doesn't deserve that kiss of death at all. If you've started to ignore recent releases because of biased internet reviewers then stick with everyone in the Horror Blogger Alliance. None of us are paid to review horror movies, we just do it because it's our passion.
I can't honestly say that "The Loved Ones" was particularly scary and I must admit that I fancied Robin McLeavy a lot more than I really should have but, for the sheer harrowing and inventive brutality, I absolutely loved it. It's not going to make me scared of visiting Australia (the enormous deadly spiders they have there is already enough!) in the way that the "Hostel" films tried to make everyone xenophobic about Europe but it's certainly going to make me keep an eye on the Australian horror movie scene in case another gem like this ever pops up in the future.
Cinema-Maniac
Cinema-Maniac

Super Reviewer

April 10, 2013
The horror genre is the most difficult to enjoy since it relies mostly on surprises. When nearly every scenario, killer, and plot tropes have been done to death it becomes increasingly difficult with the advancement in technology for writers not to make their characters dumb for the sake of the plot. It becomes rare to find even one sensible person in a horror picture and even more of a rarity when something like "The Loved Ones" feeling fresh despite an overuse concept in the horror genre.

The Loved Ones is about Brent turning down his classmate Lola's invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge. Imagine a cross between "Misery" and "Carrie". It's small scale and mostly confined like "Misery" with a creeping psychotic teenage girl like "Carrie" who enjoys her twisted acts of violence. There's no unnecessary exposition and no twist of any kind that ruins the picture. It even plays on your knowledge of the horror genre to surprised with some grisly dark humor and grotesque sequences that knows what kind of shock values it wants to give the audience. It's straightforward approach get things moving at a nice pace not feeling content to drag out events longer than required. It is however not perfect with a pointless recurring subplot disrupting from main plot. This one subplot adds a layer of humor without being a major distraction but has no significance on how events play out. It themes on grief and love are woven to the characters to not entirely make the psychopath senseless killers. It's help with the fact the tight writing giving us the always welcome villains we love to hate. The Loved Ones familiar premise feels like a new concept playing on your knowledge of the genre with unconventional writing and fine balanced of twisted humor and grotesque violence.

Casting is yet another important fundamental in a horror film. When done correctly you can get a memorable performance and character that can imprint the film on your mind. Robin McLeavy won't immediately become iconic for her portrayal of Lola but will be recognized by a large cult following. Transcending what would otherwise be a one-note character with her understanding of the role. She's comes of as sweet, innocence, bad-tempered, and wholly psychotic. A very menacing figure despite what her appearances make her out to be. Without a doubt she's the main attraction of this whole film. Our lead Xavier Samuel is not as good as McLeavy, but is made worth rooting since the film doesn't racked up a huge body count going from one kill to another. Samuel has to sell us on his pain without much spoken dialogue relying mostly on body language and facial expression to get that across. The direction serves a nice contrast to events. Cinematography is colorful, but drenched in mood. The soundtrack is well selected fitting any dreary scene. The practical gore effects are not huge in numbers but the few scenes with these effects will get some reaction from you.

The Loved Ones is a great straightforward horror film with a script that plays around your expectations and a memorable portrayal from McLeary as the psychotic Lola. What it lacks in large body count is made more than compensated with quality.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2013
I'm not sure what movie all the critics watched, because the one I watched couldn't have been further from the one described in the enthusiastic reviews. Contrary to said reviews, this is not a great movie, it's just mediocre torture porn. The movie is relatively plotless aside from the first thirty minutes. After those thirty minutes, it just goes back and forth between torture scenes and two minor characters at the prom, the latter of which, strangely enough, is completely unrelated to the rest of the movie. It sort of just exists without having any real purpose. To be fair, I did come into this expecting a splatter film, which is what it is more or less, but it's relatively unimpressive in that department too. It's violent but rarely exciting and, given that most of the movie revolves around the violence, that's a fatal flaw. On a more positive note, the performances are generally pretty good and the character of Lola is very creepy. Unfortunately that's not enough to save this film from its uneventful last hour, and it simply ends up being a weaker entry in the genre of splatter films.
Jin M

Super Reviewer

May 7, 2011
A reminder of how twisted the human mind can be.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2012
Taking the torture-and-gore genre to new levels, "The Loved Ones" is almost a social commentary on the secluded nature of our lives, where high school boys can go missing and no one can find them. I often felt a tinge of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", especially involving the strange dinner scenes and the use of the power tools. The cast is brilliantly put together, attractive yet gruesome, the soundtrack makes the film stand out, delivering heavy metal to beef up several moments of the film while pertaining to the plot, and overall, the film comes off fresh and unique despite landing in a genre that gets its kicks off of the fragile human state.
August Seria
August Seria

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2011
Twisted, and well acted. This is not your ordinary torture porn.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2011
Solid, funny, gross and gory Australian horror that has an insane amount of energy and some very good performances that mostly keeps it on the rails. The B plot is just as (perhaps more) interesting as the main stuff with poor Brent (Xavier Samuel) being tortured by a deranged 'family'. The basement revelation is so stupid and the black humour and slapstick violence prevents The Loved Ones from ever being truly frightening or disturbing, and I find it odd that the film has been *so* critically acclaimed since it's not anything out of the ordinary. But it is well made, and I really loved the ending.
Leina R

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2012
This is strictly for horror movie fans. The girl was fantastic.
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