What a lovely title for a movie – The Loved Ones. But don’t be misled! This Australian movie is one of the most shocking revenge horror movies to come along for a long time.
Six months have passed since Brent (Xavier Samuel) has lost his Dad in a car accident he caused. He is riddled with guilt and has immersed himself in metal music, drug use, risk-taking behaviour and is a complete mess. But he is still the most eligible young guy in high school.
Holly (Victoria Thaine) has agreed to go with Brent to the upcoming school prom. Holly recognises the despair that Brent is experiencing but is prepared to take on this relationship because she can see beneath the surface. But Holly is not the only one interested in Brent. Lola (Robin McLeavy), an angelic, sweet, vulnerable young girl also asks him out and, of course, Brent says no. Big mistake!
Lola and her Daddy (John Brumpton) have their own prom celebrations planned for Brent. They kidnap him and drag him off to their quaint little house on a farm where the party consists of torturing poor Brent with knives, injections of Drano, electric drills, psychological abuse, and actions that just cannot be described here. While all this is happening, we are shown a series of flashbacks and parallel subplots that eventually come together in a loose sort of way.
As a genre movie, The Loved Ones is far superior to the torture movies coming out of the US like the Saw franchise and Hostel (which I have never seen but the trailers tell it all!). The Loved Ones adds a layer of serious teen issues like grief, loneliness, desperation for meaningful friendships, and guilt which propels this genre into new territory.
Within that wrapping, however, is some very twisted, perverse, shocking torture which some have suggested verges on “torture porn”. As an example of the revenge horror genre, it is better than most. But I definitely do not recommend it!