Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Night of Horror with The Vern: The Loved Ones.

The Loved Ones

Cast:Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton

Writer and Director: Sean Byrne

* and a 1/2 out of Four.

The concept for this movie alone is really interesting and from the trailers I saw.  I was expecting something sort of like "Carrie" or even "May".  You know the story of a shy girl with no friends who gets pushed too far and starts killing people.  It was refreshing to know that at least with this movie.  Our main prom queen is nuts from the very start.  I did enjoy seeing that and Robin McLeavy(Lola) does a really good job with her performance.  There's almost this child like innocence to her character that makes her both a villain and maybe a victim.  In one scene Daddy(John Brumpton) gives his daughter a new dress. He starts to leave but she asks him to stay while she puts it on.  There are several moments while she is changing, the camera zooms in on parts of her body.  When it cuts back to the dad.  He is shown to be uncomfortable, but still looks again.  I wasn't sure if he had once molested her or if they were even related to begin with.   I was hoping that throughout this feature I would learn more things about this unlikely father and daughter.  Instead I ended up learning more about the victims then I really cared to.

Brent(Xavier Samuel) is about to go to the dance with his long time girlfriend.  His mother is nervous about him going because earlier that year.  Him and his father were involved in a car accident and only one made it out alive.  The movie actually starts with Brent and his Dad in a car and although you understand later a bit more about the accident. It was still a wasteful scene.  In the halls at school he meets Lola who politely asks him to be her date for the dance.  He's not at all mean like I thought he would be and just responds nicely that he already has a date.  Oh I should also mention that Brent has a friend,who for this review will be known as Far Nerd 5.  He too has asked a hot girl out, but never once does she seem to be into him or the date.  Why am I mentioning this to you?  I'm not really sure, but they do show this date between these two characters quite a bit.  So I'm guessing it should be pretty damn important.  After Brent decides to do some rock climbing(which I guess is the Australian way to relieve stress) he is drugged by Lola's dad
and brought back to their house.

From there you have the usual cliches. Brent gets tortured for a bit, manages to escape, but does something really dumb that gets him captured again. In one scene Lola is about to drill a hole in his head and wouldn't you know it.  The cord just happens to unplug from the wall.  I'm pretty sure they sell the cordless brand for really cheap now.  It shouldn't be that much of a problem. We get scenes of Brent's mom and girlfriend actively searching for him, and for some reason.   We see more of Fat Nerd 5 and his date with the hot girl who despite not being  into him.  Ends up getting drunk and having sex with him.  It explains later why she does those things. But after you see why.  There was no point in having Fat Nerd 5 at all in this.  I swear it feels like I'm spending more time with these other people when I should be spending more time with Brent Lola, and her Dad.  It does try to explain a little back story by showing us her past victims in a photo album, but the amount of victims she's had shouldn't really matter.  I wanted to know more of why she was the way she was.  What drove her to be this obsessive over people. Daddy seemed to be more of her pawn then the one teaching her these traits.  So I wasn't really clear on those aspects.  I know that in most horror films the less you know about the killer.  The scariest it is, but for this.  There really should have been more background on these characters.  I didn't have enough info to be cheering for them or be afraid of em.  There is one moment where Lola decides to find Brent's mom and girlfriend and kill them both.  Since we have spent a good portion of time with these characters I was expecting a good showdown between these ladies.  Sadly I was not giving that and the movie ends on a really flat note.  Like they took something cool and just ran over it.  Bad pun somewhat intended.

"The Loved Ones" would have worked better if it told the story more from Lola's perspective instead of Brent's.  If it had to be from his that's fine, but the villain should have as much time for development as our hero does.  We got background information on him, and  not much on her.  I will say at the end of this review that the movie does something good after all.  At least it does give girls an idea of who to go as for Halloween next year.


  1. Good review, Vern. Agree Robin McLeavy gave good performance. As you say, maybe would have worked better if it told the story more from Lola's perspective instead of Brent's. Goes to show that people can be totally different at home and at school!
    For me, a difficult film to know how to react to, at times it was painful viewing(especially the drill...), and at other moments, the tone was comedy. Sort of reminded me of comedy in Pulp Fiction, the scene when the guy is shot in the back seat.

  2. Thanks for the comment Chris. You're right, the movie does switch tone a lot, and maybe that's why I wasn't fully with it.

  3. Good review Vern. This movie is pretty messed-up, but it's what I expected from an old-school horror flick. It just gets more and more twisted, up until the part where you have no clue just what the hell is going to happen. If only all movies were like that.

    1. Thanks Dan. I like twisted movies, but it felt more cliche in parts when I wanted it to be more disturbing.

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