The high school prom can mean everything to a teenager especially one with a deep seated obsession as Lola (Robin McLeavy) does with troubled teen Brent (Xavier Samuel) in The Loved Ones (2009) a new look at the high school prom that hasn’t been explored since Carrie (1976). In The Loved Ones, Brent is trying to get over the accidental killing his father in a car accident by burying his troubles in drugs and heavy metal music. Only his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine) is able to ground him and prevent him from any further despair.
Too caught up in his own problems, Brent rejects Lola when she asks him to the prom. Unbeknownst to Brent Lola has an uncontrollable obsession to him and she will do whatever it takes to have the perfect prom even if it means having her Daddy (John Brumpton) kidnap him and bring him to their home. Now Brent finds himself trapped and subjected to all types of torture from the rejected Lola and her Daddy who will do anything for his little “Princess.”
Written and directed by Sean Byrne The Loved Ones is a very smart and clever film with some really stellar performances by its cast. The film is even more elevated by Byrne’s command of the material and the way in which all the lives of all the characters become interconnected by the film’s end. McLeavy gives a great performance as the female version of a Norman Bates who has Daddy issues and an unnatural relationship with her father. Overall, this film is a strong film because not only is the writing and directing strong but all the performances are equally captivating delivering a film that never feels like it’s something you’ve seen before. It continues to defy expectations from beginning to end and is quite shocking while also delicately balancing the humor with the horror (and gore).
This is not just a highlight of modern Australian horror cinema but of the horror genre in general and a film that you should not pass up.