Traveling In A Fried-Out Combi: The Loved Ones (2009)

I’m more than a bit shocked that THE LOVED ONES was as slow in arriving on US shores than it was.  The film opens at a quick clip establishing the main characters deftly and with great ease.  Brent is a haunted high schooler whose loses his father in a car crash while he is driving.  He finds his solace in heavy metal, weed and Holly.  Holly is is his bombshell girlfriend.  She is kind and caring and is gentle with Brent.  Lola was rejected when she asks Brent to the prom.  Jamie is Brent’s best friend and Mia is the goth princess that Jamie asks to prom.  

THE LOVED ONES delivers some severe “What the fuck was that?” moments.  Some of these include the injured dog, picking up a road-kill cat, and the panic that Daddy may have killed Lola’s date…and those are just the early and tame ones.  There are plenty more involving a trapdoor full of gorks, boiling water lobotomies and the like.  This thing goes truly off the rails–in a good way.  The relationship between Lola and her father is strangely enough, extremely touching for a few seconds as he presents Lola with her prom shoes and dress.  It soon devolves to creepy and weird when he leers at her in a tortured manner as she tries it on.  

The dinner scene is well played.  It looks like a homage to the dark comedy Sawyer family dinners shown in the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE flicks.  It’s Lola, Daddy, and a lobotomized woman called Bright Eyes.  In order to prevent Brent from ruining a perfectly good date, Lola injects Brent’s voice box with bleach rendering him mute.  This helps her and Daddy by giving them peace and quite while they heap pain and indignity upon Brent.  It should come as no surprise that the Stone family is so well versed in torture when it is revealed that Brent is the latest in a long line of frogs.  The real incestual prince is Daddy-he is the king of Lola’s heart.  The rest of the frogs are kept lobotomized in the basement.

The music shifts from good time rock to heavy metal to discordian cacophonies.  It also includes amazing uses of poppy bubblegum tunes which set the viewer up for a severe cognitive dissonance at the most opportune times.  The acting is top notch.  Robin McLeavy and John Brumpton carrying the lion’s share as Lola and Daddy.  Xavier Samuel does very well as the mute Brent.  The supporting cast handle their parts capably as well.  The film is well shot and the music timing is spot on.  Sean Byrne has put together something special here.

It is with no ill will that I say the following: No one should’ve ever given you Aussies cameras.  What has been unleashed on the world cannot be restrained from MAD MAX to FAIR GAME to WOLF CREEK and now THE LOVED ONES.  Lola is a badass cross between Mick Taylor and the fuckin’ Terminator.  You all need your heads checked.  And so do you dear reader if you don’t check out THE LOVED ONES.  It will leave you reeling between laughter, shock and revulsion.

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