Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Madman Films
Opens November 4

When a film's poster boasts that it's “Pretty In Pink meets Wolf Creek”, well, you've lost me at hello. I'm not good with horror to begin with (I'm a big wuss!) and Wolf Creek was a slain teen too far: I still shudder at the thought of it. I don't walk out of movies but I could have run (screaming) from that one.

Sean Byrne's The Loved Ones, while not as extreme as Wolf Creek, shares some similarities with that film, most notably the torture of teens. There's also that general sense of foreboding awaiting people who dare venture west of the Blue Mountains. I'm not sure where The Loved Ones is set specifically but it's country town Australia and like many an Oz film, something wicked this way comes from the bush.

Brent (Xavier Samuel), still emotionally and physically scarred by the car crash death of his father (the film's opener) six months earlier, is abducted only hours ahead of the school dance. His captor is Lola (Robin McLeavy), an odd fellow classmate who would appear to have a history of abducting local lads (her father willingly does her bidding) in pursuit of her 'prince'.

Brent (and the audience) endures all sorts of torture over the course of the evening, the inflictions growing ever crueller as Brent resists then disappoints Lola, just like every boy before him has: no boy could live up to her vision of the ideal man – daddy (John Brumpton) – which just adds a layer of ick to the already disturbing events.

Some may find Byrnes's film as sardonic as it is violent but I find torture as sport hard to take, even harder to laugh at. No doubt there's an audience for this type of film, and horror generally (the past two weekends at the US and Oz box office testify to that), but feel free not to invite me to the dance.


  1. It is hard to laugh with one's fingers covering their eyes and blocking their ears! :)