DIFF 2010 - Reesa Parties With The Loved Ones

Australian teen Brent is driving in the car with his power ballad-singing dad, when suddenly he swerves to avoid a half naked and bloody wraith of a person walking in the middle of the road and wraps the car around a tree. A year later the accident that killed his father weighs heavily on Brent’s conscious and he thinks his mom may blame him.

At school he’s approached by Lola a somewhat meek-looking classmate who asks him to be her date for the big school dance. Brent tries to tell her gently that he is already going with his girlfriend, Holly. Holly just got her license and is going to drive them to the dance. To celebrate they hook up in her VW bug, unbeknownst to them that Lola is watching them in the window.

Brent's mom is not happy with Holly driving. She’s overly cautious of young inexperienced drivers which makes Brent feel pangs of guilt. He’s already demonstrating these frustrations by cutting himself with a razor blade that he wears around his neck. He runs off with his dog in the woods where he rock climbs and contemplates letting go, but his sense of self preservation prevails. While he sits pondering, someone silently creeps up behind him and places an ether soaked cloth over his face. He awakens tied to a chair in a party-decorated kitchen with Lola in front of him dressed for prom. Her dad and some strange zombie-like woman with a hole in her forehead are also there. Apparently Lola really wanted a date.

Xavier Samuel plays Brent, the hunky heart throb that looks and moves a little like Kristen Stewart. Robyn McLeavy is fantastic as the sugary sweet Lola, who is a daddy’s girl and extremely demented. John Brumpton is Eric, Lola’s dad and creepy co-dependent, in his daughter’s sick little games of torture porn. Sean Bryne who wrote and directed this amazing feature uses just the right amount of humor and gruesomeness. There’s also little sub-stories like Brent’s best friend and the hot Goth chick that says yes to going to the dance, but just wants to get high.

This is not your typical slice and dice flick. Most of the excitement happens in Lola’s kitchen while she injects Drano in Brent's neck, carves a heart with a fork, and drills holes in his forehead. This is a sick-puppy household, but there’s a layer of humor that underlines the fright without being tongue in cheek. I loved the Loved Ones. (Review by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)