Nothing about the premise of Sean Byrneís The Loved Ones would suggest that I would in any way screen the film let alone enjoy it so engrossingly. Robin McLeavy plays Lola, an awkward teenager, who is turned down by fellow classmate Brent (Xavier Samuel) when she proposes that they go to prom together. Seemingly unwilling to accept his rejection, Brent is captured by Lola and her father and is subjected to an evening of torture that includes needles, knives, rocks, salt and my personal favorite, a power drill.
As the sadistic night progresses, Brent is continually tortured whilst his school prom proceeds without much notice of his absence. Lola proves to be brutally vicious to her unwilling date and a story unfolds suggesting that Brent is not her first victim.
Lolaís father (John Brumpton) is equally devilish assisting in Lolaís commands and it is only horror genre film familiarity that would suggest that Brent has a chance to get out of the evening alive.
The Loved Ones was originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 but the film didnít hit the U.S. until June of 2012. Normally, this would indicate or suggest issues with the film, but that is hardly the case here. Writer/director Sean Byrne (who unfortunately isnít working on any new projects as per imdb.com) does a fantastic job of making a horror film that falls under the category of Ďtorture porní bearable. At least in The Loved Ones, there is a purpose or reason behind the unfathomable violence towards a captor unlike films such as Grotesque or Captivity.
Fans of violence just for the sake of violence will have their fill with The Loved Ones. There is no shortage of WTF moments and we were surprisingly involved with the two lead characters.
We even didnít mind the small Martyrs type twist about two-thirds of the film through when Brent finds himself in a room under Lolaís living room floor.
The Loved Ones might not find itself in the same breath as other held captive movies such as Stephen Kingís Misery, but it is definitely one of those films that if you stumble across it, you will likely not be disappointed.
Not only were we not disappointed, but we put it up there with Cabin in the Woods as one of our favorite horror films of 2012.