Friday, 24 March 2017

The Loved Ones (2009)

Brent's out for a driving lesson with his dad when a bloodied man suddenly appears in the road.  Swerving to avoid the guy, Brent hits a tree and his father is killed.

Six months later, both Brent and his mother are still deeply affected by the accident.  Brent's coping methods - cutting himself with a razor blade and engaging in dangerous solo rock-climbing stunts - aren't exactly the healthiest of options, but thanks to the care and attention of his girlfriend Holly he is slowly becoming more or less functional.  The two are planning to attend the end of school dance together.

Unfortunately, Brent never makes it to the dance.  He's drugged and dragged off instead, and awakes to find himself in a much more macabre and deadly situation ...

The Loved Ones has been described as a "slasher romance", and - in the decidedly off-colour way you might expect of such a combination - it kind of is.  It's also a very black comedy, with sound effects and visual cues used to generate a lot of slightly nervous laughter.  It's deftly directed all round, in fact: nicely shot, and cleverly edited.  I like the way that it implies a lot of terrible things without directly showing them.  They probably did it this way at least partly to save money on effects, as this is a small budget Australian film, but they've made a virtue out of necessity in the process.

The cast is also really good - especially Robin McLeavy's demented little turn.

This is decidedly gruesome, twisted fun, but fun nonetheless.

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