aka: The Loves Ones – Pretty in Blood
Director: Sean Byrne
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee, Richard Wilson
You don’t have to die to go to hell
High school student Brent Mitchell has been through some rough times. His father died while they were both in a car, driven by Brent when they drove off the road and hit a three to avoid hitting a bloody and naked young man who popped up in the middle of the road.
And on prom night, he is about to have another terrible evening. He gets drugged and kidnapped by Lola, a girl that he rejected as a prom date since he already has a girlfriend. She gets help from her father and together they set up a very special prom night party in their own house with Brent as their only guest.
Wow, this sure was an entertaining film and surprisingly funny considering the subject matter. The Loved Ones doesn’t give any hints on what’s about to happening in the first part of the film while setting up the main character Brent. We get to know him and some of his past, but there are no hints on where the film is about to take us before we get to see the demented mind of Lola.
And what a character she is. She is a cute, young girl who does not seem to be your usual outcast in school, like most psycho’s tend to be in horror films. Instead she is one of those that gets lost in the crowd, that doesn’t stand out. Not because she has less to offer than anyone else, it’s just that she either doesn’t want or know how to show her qualities to the world. Back in her home however, things are different. She has got full control over her father and she does not let anything stand in her way of getting what she wants.
Robin McLeavy absolutely steals the show with her performance as Lola. McLeavy is so charming and cute that even while she is torturing the young guy, it’s hard to hate her. When we get close-ups of her eyes we sort of get mesmerized and start to believe that he deserves all of this for not taking her to the prom like she deserves. McLeavy’s performance here is one of the best I’ve seen in the last few years.
While the main villain was great, I wished we got more out of our main hero Brent. I don’t think Xavier Samuel portrayed enough emotions on the screen considering what he was going through. It’s hard to tell if that’s a choice by the director or if the actor, but I would have liked to see more pain in him. I also don’t feel like the setup of his character was done good enough to make us feel for the guy.
There is also a subplot with supporting characters that I don’t think adds anything to the film. They did make them have a part of the total story of the film, but their scenes feel mostly like they were added to increase the running time of the film and although they aren’t bad, they do not help the film either.
Screenwriter and director Sean Byrne was able to create a very nasty little shocker here that has quite some gory scenes without making that the focus of the film. It balances the psychological flaws of Lola and her father while still creating a sick atmosphere and even throwing in plenty of subtle humour.
The Loved Ones is quite a morbid little tale. It’s an excellent movie with a lot of effort put in to it, especially by the talented Robin McLeavy. The film looks great, it is a lot of fun and minus a few negative nitpicking aspects, it’s a movie I recommending to any horror fans.