If there was a pop-culture reason for America to have a kick-ass foreign policy, I dare say it would be the survival of the horror film. Overseas horror has been kicking ass over the past few decades, and I’d argue with anyone that, with the exception of a few spirited independents, and the occasional studio homerun (Cabin in the Woods, anyone?), that foreign horror is where the genre is flourishing. The Italians did it in the 70s and 80s, Asian horror ruled the 90s, and in the “aughts,” the French have commandeered the splatter genre. Now, a new horror film has reared it’s head from down-under: Sean Byrne’s amazing The Loved Ones.LovedOnesDate
Like a John Hughes-meets-Wes-Craven amalgamation of Hostel, Pretty in Pink, and The People Under the Stairs, Byrne’s The Loved Ones is a much-needed shot in the arm to the genre, reminding us all that there is a perverse joy to be gained from a horror show such as this; it’s no horror-comedy, but The Loved Ones provides as much of a thrill-ride as it does a splatter show.The Loved Ones concerns itself with the senior dance at an Australian high school. Brent (Xavier Samuel) is the “big man on campus,” a preppy jock who is also a decent, nice guy. Trouble begins for him when he turns down Lola Stone’s (Robin McLeavy) invitation to the dance; he’s already got a date, so he politely declines. Things quickly spiral out of control when Lola’s father (John Brumpton) kidnaps Brent for his daughter and forces him to attend a special senior dance at the Stone House, with only himself and Lola in attendance.