Loved Ones, The (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 2-Mar-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director - Sean Byrne
Short Film-Advantage
Short Film-Ben
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Meet the Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Super Awesome Featurette - A Runner's Perspective
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Toronto Film Festival Premiere - Q&A
Gallery-VFX Clips, VFX Gallery & Production Gallery
Trailer-The Loved Ones -Trailer Collection
Trailer-Madman Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 83:59 (Case: 81)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sean Byrne
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Xavier Samuel
Robin McLeavy
John Brumpton
Richard Wilson
Victoria Thaine
Jessica McNamee
Andrew S. Gilbert
Suzi Dougherty
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Ollie Olsen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1
English Audio Commentary Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"Bring the hammer, Daddy"... Lola Stone

     The Loved Ones is the feature debut of Australian writer/director, Sean Byrne. Aside from directing some respected short films, Sean's professional background lies in television commercials. The Loved Ones is a film which has polarized audiences with opinions ranging from the brilliant to the totally repugnant. In a vein similar to Wolf Creek, this Aussie horror film has delighted fans of the genre with its confronting brutality and elements of very dark humour. Despite a few subtle references to other genre films, Sean Byrne's twisted tale retains an air of originality.

     The film opens with a fatal car accident and then moves forward six months. The audience feels sympathy for young Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) when she is rejected by Brent (Xavier Samuel) for the school dance. Brent politely apologises, telling Lola he is taking his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine). Brent has some deep psychological issues regarding the tragic death of his father. While sitting alone in quiet contemplation, he is drugged and kidnapped by Lola's creepy father, (John Brumpton). When he wakes, Brent finds himself at the dining table in Lola's isolated house. He is tied to a chair and is accompanied around the table by Lola, her father and her catatonic mother, Bright Eyes (Anne Scott-Pendlebury). A mirror ball hangs and spins from the ceiling, reflecting squares of light around the room. Everyone, including Brent, is dressed in their finest clothes. Lola may not be going to the dance, but the dance is coming to Lola - albeit in a more sinister and private affair. Over the course of the evening, Brent will discover that the rejection of Lola isn't something easily accepted or tolerated. Father and daughter delight in the systematic torture of any perpetrator. Seemingly, every one of Lola's love rejections over the years has been dealt with in similar circumstances. A dark dungeon under the lounge room floor bares the evidence.

     Much of the humour in The Loved Ones comes from the mismatched pairing of Brent's friend, Jamie (Richard Wilson), and his date with the troubled but sexy, Mia (Jessica McNamee). This also offers the audience some balance and relief from the hell being bestowed on poor Brent. The narrative has many macabre revelations, but Sean Byrne cleverly keeps much of the character back stories ambiguous. Although he hints at many scenarios, Byrne allows the viewer to assess the relationship between Lola and her father.

     The Loved Ones is dark and confronting. It is certainly not a film for the squeamish or those easily offended. It is however a visually stunning debut, with perfectly menacing performances from McLeavy and Brumpton. This Blu-ray edition from Madman is guaranteed to impress the fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 1080i. More information can be found here.

     The Loved Ones is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The Blu-ray has been encoded using MPEG-4 AVG compression and the film is presented in 1080p.

     As you would expect, the image looks stunning. Sharpness and clarity was outstanding throughout. Blacks and shadow detail was also excellent. Colours were rich and natural. The film uses a predominate palette of blue, pink and gold in the house scenes. These colours enhance the bizarre nature of the film and look amazing on screen. Artefacts of any description were not an issue.

     English subtitles for the hard of hearing are available on this Blu-ray. They are easily legible in bold white and are very accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray. The main track is LPCM 48kHz/24-Bit 5.1. The second track is English Audio Commentary, LPCM 48kHz 2.0. I had no problems with any of the dialogue and audio sync appeared accurate throughout.

     The original music score by Ollie Olsen contributes considerably to the film, without overwhelming the action. Ollie's score is complemented with many tracks from various heavy metal bands. Kasey Chambers' Am I Not Pretty Enough is also used to great effect. Hearing this after viewing the film will definitely change your perception of the song.

     The surround channels worked well with music, ambient and direct sound. While not overly active, the subwoofer contributed nicely during music and with bass elements in the sound design.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The main menu is nicely animated and themed around falling glitter.

Audio Commentary - Sean Byrne (Director )

     This is a thoroughly entertaining and insightful commentary. It seems Sean gives a shout-out to just about everyone involved in the film at some point. He discusses many aspects of the production with minimal pauses and was very easy to listen to. Fans especially will find this well worth a listen.

Short Film (2007) - Advantage (11:17) directed by Sean Byrne.

     While strolling home late one night, an amorous young couple notices that the local tennis courts are unlocked. They enter through the open gate onto the dark courts. But as things begin to heat up on the umpire's chair, the courts suddenly light up and strange noises come from the speaker system.

Short Film (2001) - Ben (16:52) directed by Sean Byrne.

     Years after the car crash suicide of his mother, young Ben still battles his psychological demons.

Interviews - Meet the Cast & Crew (52:51)

     These interviews were filmed exclusively for Madman in 2010. As the titles suggests, each participant discusses their involvement in the film.

Featurette - The Super Awesome Featurette...The Runner's Perspective (25:24)

     This light-heated and entertaining piece was filmed by the production runner, Tommie McSweeney. It features many candid behind-the-scenes moments with cast and crew and is well worth a look.

Toronto Film Festival Premier and Q&A (16:02)

     The Toronto Film Festival hosted the international premier of The Loved Ones on September 13th 2009. This was filmed on that night and also features a brief Q&A session after the screening.

VFX Clips (32:48)

     A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the extensive special effects and prosthetics used in the film. Highly recommended viewing.

VFX Gallery (2:30)

     A slideshow of still images relating to the special effects.

Production Gallery (13:32)

     A slideshow of behind-the-scenes and final cut images.

The Loved Ones - Trailers

Madman Trailers

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     At the time of writing this review there is no US Region A Blu-ray edition of The Loved Ones available. However, there is a UK Region B edition available. This was released by Optimum Home Entertainment in October 2010, but it falls way short of the Madman edition in terms of extras. The UK edition only features a few brief interviews and 96 seconds of "B" roll footage. With that in mind, British fans of The Loved Ones might want to consider purchasing this Madman edition.

Summary

     As I mentioned earlier, this isn't a film for everyone. The Loved Ones is dark and confronting. It's also visually stunning, occasionally funny and is one hell of a rollercoaster ride - enjoy.

     The video and audio transfers on this Blu-ray are superb. The selection of quality extras will definitely please the fans.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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