Saturday, 15 October 2011

Bring The Hammer, Daddy.

Following on from Phantasm (man, for some reason every time I go to type Phantasm I type Suspira!) I'm continuing Halloween Horror with something completely different. This time it's a modern gore-fest from Australia called...
Yaaaay it's The Loved Ones! Isn't this poster ace? It reminds me of old Point Horror books about the kid you're dating being a psycho killer and it all going off down t'prom. This poster says its a mixture of Pretty in Pink and Wolf Creek, which I can only assume they chose because Lola wears a pink dress and it was filmed in Australia. It's nothing like those films!

The film stars insanely good-looking Xavier Samuel (who is a mixture of Johnny Depp and Shiloh Fernandez) playing Brent as a depressed, fucked up kid with a tragic past who somehow manages to end up the victim of terrifying Lola and her Daddy (amazingly acted by Robin McLeavy and John Brumpton) when he rejects her invitation to go to prom. What follows is a 84 minutes of gruesome, scary and yet cruelly funny endurance test for both Brent and the audience. I'm hesitant to label this film as "torture porn" like Hostel et all, and if I would liken it to anything it would be the insane British horror Mum & Dad, which although might be one of the most hard-going films I've ever watched, still manages to inject some humour into the equation with Perry Benson as the family's mad ringleader.

The Loved Ones definitely benefits from its actors. Everyone in this film is on point and none more so than McLeavy and her daddy, whos co-dependent existence drives the film along with horror and fascination. McLeavy is a newcomer but shots of her running across the Australian outback in her bloody prom dress are sure to make their mark on horror history. Its a role she clearly threw herself into head first, relishing and hamming up Lola's existence. Since watching Carrie, what girl hasn't wanted to play the scorned prom queen at some point in their life? And you know what? Its enjoyable to watch her getting her way, no matter how much you want her to get her head blown off, some part of you really wants her to win.

The gore in this film is inventive to say the least. Poor old Brent doesn't catch much of a break in the whole film and its a miracle he's even alive by the end. How much pain can one boy endure before he's driven mad? But its not all doom and gloom. The tension is relieved with cut-aways to Brent's best friend's disasterous (in the normal teenager sense) prom date with the local hot goth girl, which doesn't seem to serve much purpose other than to take your mind off of Brent's suffering, even if it is only for a couple of minutes.

What makes The Loved Ones so entertaining is that it definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. It knows it's a silly concept and everything is littered with glitter and sparkles and endless quotable lines. Definitely check this out if you get the chance. I saw it a couple of months ago on FilmFour's Frightfest season so they might even show it again soon. Keep an eye out!

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