The Loved Ones (2009)

[8.0]

Half-way through The Loved Ones, I was hating it all over. The fact that it won me back impresses the shit out of me. It’s an Australian horror flick about a hapless teenager struggling with survivor’s guilt (Xavier Samuel) who gets kidnapped by a spoiled, sadistic classmate (Robin McLeavy) and her whipped father (John Brumpton). Once tied to a chair beneath a spinning disco ball and other prom paraphernalia, the boy is forced to endure the girl’s own private prom from Hell.

The Loved Ones affected me more than most horror flicks. I felt for Samuel’s character and did not want him to die. Hell, I didn’t even want him hurt. But The Loved Ones gets very, very nasty. It becomes downright cruel and offensive. For a while, it disintegrates into a sleazy torture porn rut. And that’s when I got pissed. I even yelled at the screen.

But all those feelings of hate that I had for the movie were suddenly turned around as the flick stopped being torture porn and became a revenge flick. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough good revenge flicks lately, but as evil as McLeavy’s character is to the boy, that’s how much more I wanted her to get it. The third act is pretty tense and offers up a few surprises, with McLeavy going all-out Terminator before things are over.

Solid acting all around, beautiful cinematography, and a great soundtrack. It was a rollercoaster experience that ultimately surprised me. I hated it and I loved it. Most importantly, it really got to me. How many movies do that anymore?

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