Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! High school stoner, Bret (Xavier Samuel), finds that out the hard way in Sean Byrne’s prom night predicament, The Loved Ones. Sitting somewhere between a John Hughes romantic teen comedy and Misery (1990), with torture porn sprinkled on top, this should be a lesson to all parents to punish their spoilt brat kids at a young ages before they become too demanding and expectant. One day they’re asking for Barbie’s then before you know it it’s power tools. Of course, it’s different when the father also happens to be a psycho with an incestuous crush on his daughter; so I can see why a child would grow up to have problems in that particular situation.
After suffering the loss of his father, Bret is a stoned, suicidal wreck who thinks his situation can’t get any worse; that’s until he rejects Lola’s (Robin McLeavy) prom invitation because he’s already going with his girlfriend. However, Lola isn’t used to being told ‘no’, so she has her father kidnap Bret over for supper. Like most teenage girls, she’s looking for her Prince Charming; she is nicknamed Princess after all. What ensues is a date from hell.
If you’re thinking that this is just another torture porn movie then you couldn’t be more wrong; while it does follow the formula of kidnapping and torturing a captive in the most gruesome ways imaginable, The Loved Ones has a lot more going for it than human butchery. It takes that tried and tested premise that was done to death in the Noughties to the point it’s still boring in 2015, and adds layers to it such as a memorable spoilt brat villain, pitch black comedy, teen angst drama and a few wincing twists and turns that’ll make your jaw drop. By taking the concept of a torture flick, turning up the volume to psychotic and infusing it with a little teen rom-com, you have a formula which would suggest hipster garbage; but here, it works as it balances humour with unhinged, demented horror perfectly. Moreover, Princess is both terrifying and hilarious as a daddy’s girl used to getting her own way. Hyperbole it is not when I saw that Lola deserves to be placed in the upper echelons of horror iconography alongside the likes of Freddy and Leatherface. And don’t be too concerned if you find her insatiably attractive in her pink dress and psychotic meltdowns.
Written & Directed By:
Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine
Mark my words: this is a stonewall modern classic that’ll give you a boner, then proceed to bleed all over you. 10/10