The Loved Ones.

I’ve just enjoyed Australian horror film The Loved Ones.

Brent is driving with his father in the passenger seat, when a bloodied man appears in the middle of the road. Swerving to avoid hitting the man, Brent’s vehicle collides with a tree. Six months later, Brent is planning to attend a high school dance with girlfriend Holly, having refused an offer by Lola Stone. Holly drives the pair on account of the car crash: it is revealed that Brent’s father died in the accident. Wracked with guilt, Brent has turned to recreational cannabis use and self-mutilation with a razor blade he keeps on a necklace.

While listening to music, Brent is attacked from behind. Bound to a chair, he wakes up at Lola’s house sitting at a table with Lola, her father, and a lobotomized woman they call Bright Eyes. Lola’s father has turned his house into a dance for his daughter. Lola takes a syringe and fills it with bleach and injects it into Brent’s voice box making him unable to scream or talk. She begins torturing Brent by forcing him to suck on her finger and threatening to nail his penis to the chair when he cannot urinate. When she makes a threatening comment about Holly, Brent kicks Lola and manages to escape outside. Lola’s father chases Brent up a tree, where he and Lola hurl rocks at Brent, knocking him down. The two bring Brent back inside, and nail his feet to the floor with knives. Lola reveals via a scrap book that she has been abducting many boys throughout her life, including the bloody man, who turns out to be the brother of Mia, the goth girl his friend Jamie asked to the prom. This was the man that Brent saw which made him swerve and kill his father. Lola then “draws” on Brent by using a fork to carve a heart with “L S” in the middle on his chest on which she liberally throws salt.

After being crowned Queen of her dance, Lola admits to Brent that she is looking for her prince, which is not Brent as he is “just another frog”. However, Lola confides in her father that he himself is her prince. Afterward, Daddy lifts the carpet to reveal a secret trapdoor with the previous abductees still inside. Lola drills a hole through Brent’s skull as they intend to lobotomize him like their other captives. But when Lola complains that the hole is too small for her to pour boiling water into, Brent slashes her father with his pendant necklace. Brent then attacks Daddy, stabbing him repeatedly in the neck with the knives Brent pulled out of his feet. Lola jumps on Brent and tries to hit him, but Brent knocks her out. Brent then pushes Lola’s dad into the pit, where he watches in horror as the near-starved captives eat Daddy. Lola gets up and throws Brent in, throwing nearby objects at him in anger. Brent finds a flashlight and hammer that Lola had thrown down, and kills the abductees as they advance on him. Lola then goes and smothers Bright Eyes with a pillow, revealing that the woman is her mother.

On a hunch, Holly calls a policeman (Mia’s father) in the neighborhood. When he gets to Lola’s house, he sees through a window the bloody floor and chair and breaks in. Brent in an attempt to attract the policeman’s attention makes noise by throwing objects at the doors, alerting the policeman of his presence. But when he opens the doors, Lola appears behind the policeman and Brent cannot say anything to warn him. Lola drives a meat cleaver into his face and the policeman falls down, dropping his gun. Brent attempts to shoot Lola, but she quickly moves out of the way where she finds Brent’s necklace. She then informs Brent that she is going to go to his house and kill his mother Carla and Holly for murdering her father and breaking her heart. Brent notices a large pile of bones in the pit. That gives him the idea to pile up the dead bodies, and he manages to climb out.

Lola begins walking on the road with a knife and her scrap book when she sees a car advance. It is shown to be Holly, so Lola hides and throws her book at the windshield, distracting Holly to a halt. She then attempts to kill Holly, but Holly evades Lola and a chase ensues. Brent is seen driving the police car fast attempting to catch up with Lola. He sees Holly and nearly hits her but swerves and hits Lola instead. Holly clambers into the police car, and is shocked to see Brent. The two embrace tearfully as Lola, severely injured but still not dead, crawls to kill the pair. They hear the noise of Lola’s knife as she drags herself and Brent reverses the car, striking Lola in the head and crushing her skull.

Brent and Holly arrive back home. Carla looks outside the window to see her son in a brutal state and embraces him after all the horror he has been through. The last scene shown is that of Brent’s face as he is being held by Carla, looking on.

It was an entertaining, and at times disturbing, horror film, made all the better by strong performances from the entire cast. Xavier Samuel particularly impressed, especially given how little dialogue he had, having to put accross a convincing performance with action alone – and he did just that. A great film, and one I recommend highly for horror fans.

The Loved Ones

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