9. The Loved Ones
Director: Sean Byrne
Stars: Robin McLeavy, Xavier Samuel, John Brumpton, Richard Wilson, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee
Unless you’re a die-hard horror supporter or a frequent user of the see-by-request movie service TUGG, this is probably the first time you’re even hearing about Australian writer-director Sean Byrne’s long-awaited The Loved Ones. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to catch the stellar horror-comedy two years ago (seriously) at a special New York screening, so it’s all the more disappointing that the film received such a lame, inaccessible release.
Whenever The Loves Ones hits the DVD circuit, though, make it a top priority. Incredibly gory, often hilarious, and never conventional, Byrne’s loony thrill ride is equal parts John Hughes, John Waters, and Eli Roth. Robin McLeavy (seen on AMC’s Hell on Wheels) cements herself as one of modern cinema’s greatest female villains, playing the insane Lola Stone. Obsessed with a high school classmate (Xavier Samuel), Lola kidnaps him on prom night, ties him to a chair in her kitchen, and, with the help of her similarly unhinged dad, tortures him beyond belief. And that’s just the first half of the movie—please believe, it goes wonderfully downhill from there.
It’s a crying shame that The Loved Ones wasn’t given a wider theatrical release—it’s the quintessential “midnight movie,” ripe with money shots and crowd-geared scenes just begging for an audience packed with excitable moviegoers. Guess Byrne and company will have to settle for the eventual word-of-mouth DVD/Blu-ray circulation.