Review: The Loved Ones
Review: by Rebecca Kolodziej
Don’t ask me why only now I am writing a review for this twisted piece of horror cinema. I agree with you, I must have been living under a rock to have missed this sadistic gem. But before you fiends judge me to harshly give me a chance to redeem myself first yes? It may be almost ten years ago that Sean Byrne’s ‘THE LOVED ONES’ was released but in my hibernation, throughout these nine long years, I have managed to put off watching this film until now!.
I have no excuse for it really. It was simply one of those ‘oh I’ll watch it tomorrow evening’ type scenarios that lasted for almost a decade. Ridiculous I know but you can’t shout at me too much because even a decade on I made true to my promise and sat down and watched it.
First things first. Holy mother fucking shit! What an intense film! It was great from start to finish. I am almost kicking myself for not relenting and watching this film earlier. As a reviewer, I literally have no problem with this film, no flaws it’s just…weirdly creepy, therefore why I just had to review it!
I was particularly fond of the controversial theme of the film that being self-harm, depression and suicide. Whenever mental health rears its head in films I automatically pay more attention because it is a subject that I can relate too. I’m sure I am not the only one who does this though right? THE LOVED ONES portrayed depression and teenage rebellion pretty accurately in my eyes using drink, drugs, and sex as a way of escaping mental demons.
The main characters, Brent Mitchell played by Xavier Samuel; a teen metal head battling depression after the death of his father and Robin Mcleavy who assumes the role of the awesomely psychotic Lola Stone really stole the show. The emotion that went into making the characters was genuine and they both just worked so well together.
The gore was aplenty, a maniacal bloodstream bleeding constantly through the screen. The torture scenes were gut-wrenching and physically made me say ‘oooh’ as I cringed further back into my chair holding my feet. You’ll know why. The grotesque incestuous implied relationship with father and daughter was very unorthodox and left me feeling uncomfortable throughout the whole film.
To say the least, THE LOVED ONES was just a whirlwind experience. When Sean Byrne made this film it’s safe to say that he knew what he was doing! The methods of torture in the film was awesome particularly having bleach injected into your vocal chords as a way to silence you was pretty damn grim but also sadistically clever. Humiliation in the form of being forced to urinate in front of your torturer is also another moment that made me want to run away and hide from the crazy bitch. I guess what I am trying to say is that everything that the actors felt I felt too because that’s how well the torture methods were conveyed.
Part of what I love about my job is how I get to analyze films and even though the loved ones is a typical gore fest the backstory to why the characters are the way they are is sad and gives the film a motive for the protagonist’s behaviors.
All said I couldn’t recommend it more, there’s gore, there’s tragedy and there’s a surprising amount of talent.