The Loved Ones finally gets a cinema release on our fine shores, despite being available on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK and having been screened at countless festivals around the globe. Sadly though, it would seem the response to the film on home soil has been far from overwhelming, which is a shame given that I think this would have to be one of Australia's finest genre films to date. I am sure many comparisons will be made with Wolf Creek (a film I personally detest and cannot believe is being serialized), but the two share little in the way of similarities.
Brent is a high school heart-throb trying to come to terms with the sudden death of his Father in a motor vehicle accident in which he was the driver. The end of school dance is coming up and despite having a girlfriend, the quiet girl Lola asks him to the dance. Brent says No. Unbeknown to him of course, this will prove to be a very big mistake because Lola has a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock and together with her just as marsupially challenged Father they kidnap Brent and hold an end of school dance he will not soon forget.
The film is wonderful to look at with a nice colour pallete and brilliant use of the cinema-scope frame. The soundtrack is equally as impressive with some great immersive surround use and equally as impressive score. Casting is spot on with Xavier Samuel as Brent, whose performance shines given the relative difficulty in conveying his characters feeling through his body language and facial expression alone. Robin McLeavy plays Lola and seems to have had great fun in doing so, of course the fact that she fits the role with such relative ease is a little unnerving and makes the performance all the more believable.
The Loved Ones is the second feature I have seen this year to put humble household items to a use I am sure the creators would be horrified to see (Farmhouse was the first). The film is also not without its humor and I believe writer / director Sean Byrne deserves credit for finding a fresh take on an otherwise cliche ridden section of the horror torture genre. Whilst it won't be everybody's cup of tea, The Loved Ones has plenty to offer in this remake ridden horror climate and it will certainly gather a cult following allowing it to take its place in many a film fans collections to be treasured for years to come.