The Loved Ones (2009)

The Loved Ones image sourced from

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I have lived in the past. My ears were always filled with the likes of Blondie and The Runaways and my DVD player was lucky if it saw a movie that was released anytime in the 21st Century. Don’t get me wrong, I tried the new stuff, I just didn’t like it as much as the old 1970s/80s stuff. This all changed however when I saw 2009’s The Loved Ones.

Written and directed by Sean Byrne, this Australian prom night horror packed a surprisingly bigger punch than I think anyone quite realised it would- including myself…I cannot lie, I only agreed to watch it when co-editor Luke suggested it because the main character looks suspiciously like a teenage Johnny Depp. Yes, yes, everyone swoon.

The story started like so many others and I almost heaved a long sigh at the banality of the opening scene where our main character, Brent Mitchell (Xavier Samuel), swerves his car to avoid a ghostly figure in the middle of the road and ends up writing off his car against a tree and killing his father whilst doing so. Like so many other typecast parents, Brent’s mother never quite forgives him and he turns to sex, drugs, booze and metal. His only saving grace and escape from his issues and self-loathing, is his beautiful girlfriend, Holly, whom he intends to take to the prom.

The similarities to She’s All That (or some other 90s chick flick) end there, and thankfully only take up about five minutes, when dear Brent gets kidnapped of the side of a mountain and wakes up tied to a chair in a dining room complete with mirror ball and prom banners. Queue incest, extreme gore, cannibalism and some bloody good acting.

The Loved Ones image sourced from

Yes, the plot isn’t exactly ‘thick’ and, bar the story-setting at the beginning, it’s mostly shot in one location, but in this case the simple, uncomplicated plot allows the film to play to Byrne’s strengths – blissfully dark and painfully brutal. Running at just 84 minutes long, The Loved Ones had me screaming at the screen, praying that poor Brent would make it through. Hit after hit, Byrne was ruthless in his writing and my guts were clenched for the full second half of the film.

Now normally I’m not big on the gore and that’s not because I’m squeamish, believe me, if I was I would have had to turn this film off before it even began (the power drill scene is coming to mind now), there’s just something I don’t rate about being sick just to be sick and then never quite pulling it off. Refreshingly, the movie more than pulls it off! It rips it off like a bloody great plaster. It’s clever, it’s well shot, the acting is sublime (Where did Robin McLeavy come from?! Actually amazing). It is just brilliant, absolutely, fantastically brilliant – it is just a shame that so few newly released movies cannot seem to capture me the way this movie did.

I could honestly rant on about this movie until the cows come home, I loved it that much, but I won’t ruin your appetite for it and I don’t want to spoil any of the suprises that Byrne has up his sleeve. JUST GO AND SEE IT!

I’ll leave you on this suitably eerie note…

Video sourced from YouTube

And of course the trailer…

Video sourced from Youtube

Score: 666/666


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Kath says:

    I’ve never heard of this film prior to visiting your site, and now I’m excitedly anxious to see it. Unfortunately, both Blockbuster and Netflix don’t seem to carry it. Any advice on where to find this title (as well as other hard-to-find horror flicks)?

    1. Emma Knock says:

      You can get it from Amazon here: It’s a non US format however. If you’re a Brit then you can find it at a more resonable price here: Failing that, then you can download it from iTunes. Or try a sneaky torrent download and buy it if you like it 😉

      1. Kath says:

        I finally had the privilege of seeing The Loved Ones! Your review was pretty spot-on. I’m now sharing it with anyone and everyone who shows the slightest interest when I bring it up (which is often). Great job on the blog, by the way. You’ve reviewed a lot of movies I haven’t even heard of, and I always have so much fun tracking them down and indulging in a horror flick or two. I just watched Tucker & Dale vs. Evil based on your recommendation, and I’m still raving about it also. Keep up the good work!

      2. Emma Knock says:

        I’m glad you finally got to see this awesome film and that you came back to let us know your thoughts. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed, it truly is a fantastic little film. I’m having a craving to watch it again since reading your comment, haha. Thank you! I’m glad that you’ve been able to track down some of the movies and have enjoyed them so. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is another great one. Will do our best to keep bringing you some great recommendations!

  2. RaoulDukeKD says:

    Haha nice work on the score for the moviw. Great review. I loved it too. Here’s my review:

  3. Yes, just watched this DVD last night – courtesy of Kath above and it is fabulous! I too, was screaming at the screen for the last half hour of the movie.Love the dark humor combined with the seriousness of loss. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Emma Knock says:

      No problem. Glad you also really enjoyed the film. It’s so refreshing to find a film like this amongst a lot of the chaff that’s out there these days.

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