Written & Directed by Sean Byrne
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, and Victoria Thaine
In order to avoid a ghostly figure in the road, high school senior Brent Mitchell wraps his car around a tree, killing his father. Constantly confronted by his mother’s emotional collapse after the accident, Brent escapes into a marijuana fueled world of loud metal music to block the pain and guilt. Dejected and out of sorts, he has a shot at happiness with his girlfriend Holly, a grounded, caring girl with drop dead good looks, a dream date for the high school prom. But his plans are thwarted by a disturbing series of events that take place under a mirrored disco ball, involving pink satin, glitter, syringes, nails, power drills and a secret admirer. Brent has become the prom king at a macabre, sadistic event where he is the entertainment.
A casual glance at the poster for The Loved Ones might be misleading. Most of us have probably seen two dozen horror flicks with a similar theme – and that’s just from the 80′s. It becomes clear rather quickly that this is not one of those movies. Lola (McLeavy) is a wallflower with a crush. She sheepishly asks fellow classmate, Brent (Samuel), to be her date for prom. He rejects her gently, mentioning he already has a date. Well. things get insane fast. Writer/director, Sean Byrne, nails it with the perfect mix of trauma, shock, humanity, and a disturbed sense of humor. The movie has such deep substance that I never felt like I was watching another “torture porn” movie. The film is violent for sure, but never at its own expense. Cementing the character with little to no back story takes front and center.
Horror movies fail often due to their lack of balance. This one manages to balance a mundane subplot that juxtaposes the insanity occurring in the main act. What really makes this one memorable is McLeavy. She uses her entire acting arsenal to deliver a ferocious performance for someone so young. She uses her body movements and expressions to hone her demented desires to a razor’s edge. You can feel it in her eyes. Never has such a girly shade of pink been so terrifying. Set against the bright pink backdrop is a long series of violent events that could make the most hardened horror lover squirm. I checked Rotten Tomatoes after my viewing and was pleasantly surprised to see a landslide 97% rating. Add this to your Halloween schedule and please don’t miss this instant classic – this is a Fister sure thing.