Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Loved Ones

The Loved Ones is a movie in the same vein as the Hostel franchise or Wolf Creek. The horror "sub-genre" of torture porn was really popular about 5-6 years ago and a lot of movie studio decided to make a ton of the movies no matter what the stories were. The problem with these movies is that they generally throw away the concept of characterization and focus solely on the violence. The movie has the premise that sounds very standard but the execution of the story and the quality of the characters elevates this into the upper tier of the genre and it seems to have a little more behind it than your standard crappy torture porn horror movie.

The Loved Ones follows Brent, a high school student recovering from a car accident that claimed the life of his father. He is approached by Lola to go to the prom but he is going with his girlfriend already and turns Lola down. Turns out that Lola is a crazed psychopath who has her "daddy" kidnap Brent. Lola and her "daddy" create a fake prom in their secluded house and Lola is the Prom Queen and Brent is the Prom King. They torture him in hopes that he will change his mind and fall in  love with Lola. From that point on it is a mad dash for Brent to try and escape, his mother to find him, and for Lola to fulfill her psychotic fantasies.

The thing thing that really separates The Loved Ones from the shitty movies in the genre is the fact that the characters are interesting and the villain is absolutely batshit insane. The main character, Brent, is a genuinely good guy dealing with the death of his dad that he feels responsible. He turns to cutting and drug use to try and dull the pain, and when he rebukes Lola there is no intention of hurting her. She has other plans though. Generally in a movie like this, the main character would be a jock and act like a jerk then would learn a lesson from his experiences. Brent just got targeted by a psycho and had to suffer the consequences.

The villain, Lola, is fucking brilliant in this movie and is a stand out in the horror genre. She is the embodiment of hatred and pure evil, and she will stop at nothing to get exactly what she wants. She lobotomizes people and has an incestual relationship with her dad, that pretty much sounds like pure evil to me. She seems like such a mousy outsider when you first meet her, then you realize that she is a tornado of crazy and will tear apart anyone in her path. She is damaged in just about every possible way a human could possibly be damaged and that is what makes her so engaging. You don't know much about her past and that is what makes her a compelling villain, you want to know what fucked her up.

This is a great horror movie, and while I am not a huge fan of the "torture porn" genre, I am a huge fan of this movie. The performances are stellar and the violence is brutal which is always a successful combo for a horror movie. This is a much more effective movie than Hostel or even Wolf Creek. This movies is certainly not for everyone and I would only recommend it if you are a fan of horror movies with brutal violence. Give it a watch on Amazon On Demand or on DVD.