The Loved Ones (2009)
And you thought Carrie had a bad prom night? In The Loved Ones, a razor-sharp slice of Ozploitation, troubled high schooler Brent (Xavier Samuel, Bait 3D) has an arguably worse one, and this six months following an auto accident that claimed the life of his father. Brent has blamed himself ever since, becoming a cutter as a result.
Cue Little River Band’s “Lonesome Loser” (which the Aussie film actually does) and enter Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), a homely classmate who asks Brent to prom. He politely declines, because he already has a date with his girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine, Son of the Mask).
Lola doesn’t accept rejection well — like, at all. With the help of her father (John Brumpton, Romper Stomper), Brent is kidnapped, drugged and tortured for his “crime” of rejection, all during a makeshift, private prom in her kitchen. But, hey, at least he’s crowned king!
The Loved Ones marks a truly twisted feature debut for writer/director Sean Byrne, and his baby exhibits a mean streak of humor as black as its soul. I find this to be a good thing. More films should challenge their audience, should take turns unexpected, should cross a point of no return; Byrne does all. He also gets a deliciously delirious performance from McLeavy, whose social outcast may be screwed in the head, but somehow retains a smidge of viewer sympathy, even considering her threats to nail poor Brent’s penis to the chair. —Rod Lott