Connect with us
The Loved Ones


10 Years Later: The Loved Ones is one of the Best Horror Films

Revisiting Sean Byrne’s The Loved Ones

If in a parallel dimension a young John Waters had been born in Australia and decided to remake the eighties rom-com Pretty In Pink then it would resemble Sean Byrne’s teenage love satire The Loved Ones, a deliciously entertaining black comedy which is destined for immortality in the cult classic canon. I remember, the film generated roars of laughter and squeals of pain from the Frightfest audience when events turned more homicidal, the film was unquestionably one of the best-received films of the festival that year despite its playing on the midnight schedule.

Surly teenager Brent (Xavier Samuel) has extra reason to be withdrawn, moody and anguished; he accidentally killed his father and injured himself during a car accident six months ago. Once a clean-cut athletic sort, Brent has now turned to booze and weed, his warm affection for his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine) an essential, stabilizing presence in his turbulent young life. When his mousy classmate Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent if he would like to go to the prom with her, he rejects her advances in a gentlemanly fashion, calmly explaining that was planning to go with his girlfriend. It may be the worst decision that he has ever made, as his rejected paramour Lola enacts terrible revenge for her rejection, kidnapping Brent with the assistance of her father for her own private prom with just the three of them…

The Loved Ones 2010

It’s a rare occurrence but sometimes you know when you’ve just witnessed a cult classic and The Lovely Ones, with its Kathy-Bates-in-Misery surrogate, may have birthed this year’s greatest screen villain. Both McLeavy and Richard Wilson as Lola’s father excel with hysterical performances, and the whole movie is stuffed with a demented glee which keeps the film snarling along. At a brisk 80 minutes, it never outstays its welcome and leaves you wanting more. The psychological ignition of Lola’s psychopathic behaviour and her father’s slavish devotion is never explored or explained, and the film is all the stronger for it, as any muddling of the motivation would distract from the movie’s core blend of horror and humour. The Loved Ones operates on a slightly hysterical level, not enough to plunge into parody but certainly at a heightened level of realism, at times verging on the absurd, in which it is difficult to predict the next plot development, a frequently omitted ingredient in the contemporary horror film.

The Loved Ones movie

There is a side-plot concerning Brent’s friend Eric and his alternate prom experience with Mia, the goth object of his affection, and this whole strand of the film never collides with the central horror. One assumes that Byrne intended this to work as some sort of comedic antidote to the deteriorating events at the alternative prom. Even when events spiral out into almost Buñuelian levels of surrealism toward the film’s climax, the tone and texture of the film remain captivating, a modern midnight movie exemplar.

Written by John McEntee

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published under our old brand, Sound On Sight.

Now Streaming

Written By

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tilt Magazine Logo
Pop culture from all angles...


Goodfellas Anniversary Review Goodfellas Anniversary Review

30 Years Later: Goodfellas Captured Lightning in a Bottle


Crazy Samurai Musashi Review Crazy Samurai Musashi Review

Fantasia 2020: Tak Sakaguchi Takes on an Army in Crazy Samurai Musashi


The Mary Tyler Moore Show The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 50


Beverly Hills, 90210 Beverly Hills, 90210

Beverly Hills, 90210 at 30: The 25 Best Scenes


100 Greatest Horror Movie Scenes 100 Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes


Horror Movie Scenes Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes


Jeremiah Johnson Western Review Jeremiah Johnson Western Review

Jeremiah Johnson is the Most Beautiful Western


The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

The Real ‘Curse of Audrey Earnshaw’ is Wasted Potential


Cosmic Candy Cosmic Candy

Fantasia 2020: Cosmic Candy Hides Reality Behind a Quirky Exterior


How I Met Your Mother How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother at 15- The Very Best Until it Was the Very Worst


Greatest Horror Movie Scenes Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes


Fantasia 2020: Tiny Tim: King For a Day is a Moving Look at an American Curiosity