The Late Show
Australia, 2009, 84 minutes
Sun, May 02 / 10:30 / Castro / LOVE02C
Thu, May 06 / 3:00 / Kabuki / LOVE06K
As if his father’s death and mother’s subsequent catatonia weren’t enough, grieving teen Brent Mitchell (Xavier Samuel) is pursued by the ugly duckling from hell in this gripping shocker from Down Under. Slowly returning to life with the help of heavy metal music, good dope, his sweet girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine) and long walks with his dog, Brent has little idea of the horror ahead when he turns down classmate Lola (Robin McLeavy) for the prom. Though meek and homely in appearance, Lola’s interior life is a seething tangle of entitlement and rage, and she does not easily take no for an answer. As a result, Brent finds himself a very reluctant guest at her house for a gathering that blends elements of horror classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Misery and Carrie, while adding its own special frisson. But The Loved Ones is more than an exercise in fear. First-time director Sean Byrne populates the film with three-dimensional teen characters full of worry, hormones and dangerous impulses. With Lola, he puts paid to any lingering notion that girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” From her twisted dress-up games to her scarily obsessive diary, she is a vivid, horrific creation brought to life with compassion and understanding. And Brent is a remorseful, laconic hero who finds a visceral desire to live amid the most extreme circumstances. Employing claustrophobic interiors and a variety of inspired torture instruments, The Loved Ones proves that Australian genre cinema is very much alive and well.
Presented in association with Advance – Global Australians. Global Networks.