A Review…really: The Loved Ones

Sean Byrne’s creepy Toronto Film Festival darling is screening at AFI Film Fest on Halloween and it’s worth the price of admission (it’s free, by the way, but the movie is worth the price of any admission). The Loved Ones will wow horror buffs next week. Here’s a review that tells you why.

Everyone likes The Loved Ones
Romance Lives (barely) in The Loved Ones

I had a blast watching Zombieland. I had fun watching Paranormal Activity. But seeing the big studio’s creations and picks made me hunger like a droopy goth vampire in Twilight for a true indie horror film. And I’m not indie horror groupie. I’m picky. It takes a special, twisted mind to grab my heart. The Loved Ones has done that. I fell in love with this movie. First, I have a love for horror movies that show the horror of the human mind. I have a special love for the movies who find the horror of the human mind funny.

In the Loved Ones, teenaged Brent tries to live a normal life after the death of his father, but his self-destructive ways are guided by deep guilt and he avoids love from others to dwell in grief. His girlfriend tries to understand. His mother over-protects. And a shy girl waits in the wings. But on the night of the prom, it all goes completely awry and this young man becomes a victim of obsession and psychosis.

First, the horror movie fan’s response: What a ride! I am not telling you a thing about this film because you must see it unfold without knowing a twist or turn. There is not one slow moment in this film. And every time you think it’s gored itself out, it out-gores itself. You know that scene in Misery with the block and the hammer and the foot? Yeah, well, that scene is just foreplay to the porn of mad gore you get here. But it’s not gore for gore’s sake. Each character commits their act of insanity (or passionate attempts at sanity) with believability and sense. And to accentuate the pitch-perfect writing, there is some stunningly real gore effects, gorgeous camera work, and well done editing.

Now, my chick response: What I love most about this film is we get to see women at their most powerful. Not superhero or supervillain power -true power of need, manipulation, sorrow, passion, possessiveness. Along with that, each character is rich and likable, even the antagonists. I love the moments in the film where we see wheels spinning as these people react so true to themselves.

So yeah, I know I’ve been lenient on the film reviews lately, but it’s been a good year. And this one is the cream of the crop. If you don’t catch it at AFI Fest next week, wait for that DVD and buy it.

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