Day #139: The Loved Ones (2009)

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The Loved Ones (2009)

Synopsis:

[From IMDB:] When Brent turns down his classmate Lola’s invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.

My take:

This is how you do disturbing.

You don’t need all the bells and whistles, or to try and push the boundaries of what’s acceptable in order to get a rise out of people. You just need a core cast of people who can act the shit out of their parts, and an attention to detail.

Robin McLeavy does a fantastic job of bringing Lola to life, in all of her depravity. There’s just something about the way that she goes dead behind the eyes at certain points during the movies that’s even more disconcerting than the way that she acts toward Brent (Xavier Samuel); and her interactions with her dad (John Brumpton) are skin-crawlingly uncomfortable, even as they trod on the well-worn path of incestuousness.

John Brumpton seems so eager to please Lola, and you can see the war between doting father and lustful admirer playing out so clearly on his face, which makes him a perfect counterpart for McLeavy.

Following the theme of acting through the face and eyes, Xavier Samuel also does a great job of bringing the rage to his character, in those moments where he’s given an opportunity to shine. But, let’s face it, he’s not really the one that everyone’s paying attention to, lead character or not.

Having Brent and Lola’s story running alongside that of Mia (Jessica McNamee) and Jamie’s (Richard Wilson), who make it to the senior dance and do pretty much what’s expected of teens in this situation, allows for a nice contrast to the main action. It also means that there’s some opportunities for the kind of self-deprecating humour that Australians do so well – and, if we’re being honest, also fleshes out the movie a bit more. I feel like this contrast works well, even as I can see why it might not work so well for others.

There were a couple of weak points in the plot, but even in acknowledging that I can’t really find much energy to hate on the movie for this. All things considered, it didn’t stray too far from being believable.

I have to admit, I’d forgotten how much I liked The Loved Ones, but I’m glad I picked it out of my pile of DVDs. Even as it meant watching yet another serial killer/torture porn-type of movie in a succession of these types of movies, it was fresh enough in its take on the genre that I enjoyed every minute of it.

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