The Loved Ones (2010)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Sean Byrne
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Toronto Film Fest. Premiere
|Year Of Production||2010|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Sean Byrne|
Andrew S. Gilbert
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
After years of watching genre films you reach a point where not a lot will surprise you anymore. When something does, it is either a pleasant surprise or a bitter disappointment and there are far more interesting failures around than original successes. The Loved Ones is a pleasant surprise. What starts out like yet another unnecessary coming-of-age dramedy, quickly evolves into one of the more engaging serial killer flicks of the torture-porn era.
The film follows the experience of Brent (Xavier Samuel), who has become a little emo since killing his father in a car crash, after he turns down awkward, shy-girl Lola (Robin McLeavy) when she asks him to the school dance. On the afternoon before the dance Brent is kidnapped by Lola and her Daddy (a deliciously off-kilter John Brumpton), and Daddy gives Lola the school dance experience that she wanted in their living room. If the isolation of the family home isn't enough to keep Brent at Lola's dance, Daddy's tools certainly should be. Brent's mum, his girlfriend (Victoria Thaine) and the local plod, whose own son had disappeared under similar circumstances, all join the hunt for Brent when they realise he has gone missing. Playing second fiddle to Brent's ordeal is Brent's pal Jamie's (Richard Wilson) night out at the dance with wild-girl Mia (Jessica McNamee), which acts as a bit of comic relief to break up the madness of the daddy and daughter serial killer story and provides a point of comparison as to what sort of night Brent should have expected.
Daddy and daddy's-little-girl Lola make for a truly memorable pair of villains. Their characters are each an effective amalgam of sickly sweet and depraved psychotics, a contradictory set of characteristics that are rarely so effectively paired. The result is like a pink teddy bear with knives for paws, killing with a sweet-melancholic Casey Chambers soundtrack.
Having premiered at festivals around the globe in late 2009, it has taken The Loved Ones a good deal of time to find a local release. Upon watching it is easy to guess why. Thought it is first and foremost a genre film and not an obvious spoof, the film tears apart the bland coming-of-age formula that has been the bread and butter of the tax-funded Australian film industry for far too long (several or which have starred members of this film's cast) without batting an eyelid for a knowing wink at the camera. Most of our domestic film industry should be embarrassed to have been shown up by a first time writer/director.
The Loved Ones is a horror flick that really stands out from the pack thanks to both its distinct voice and just plain being a good movie.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video looks very good. The image is clear and sharp. There is minimal grain in the image. The film makes good use of colour, particularly in juxtaposing pinks and pastels against dark colours during the ordeal, and this translates well in the transfer. There is a good level of depth in the blacks and plenty of detail in the key darker scenes. There is no sign of any video compression artefacts, film artefacts or other nasties.
The film features optional English subtitles, which appeared accurate and well timed based on the sample viewed.
The film features a single English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track.
The audio is of a good standard. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The sync is spot on and mix is well levelled.
The film features a traditional score from Ollie Olsen and Andy Canny.
The surrounds and subwoofer are used to reasonable effect, although not terribly frequently.
|Surround Channel Use|
An involving commentary from first time feature director Sean Byrne. Byrne has plenty to say and an enthusiasm many older hats simply lack in commentaries. Well worth a listen.
An experimental horror short, directed by Sean Byrne in 2007, that is kind of a Village of the Damned on a tennis court.
A young kid battles the emotional trauma of his mother's car crash death years earlier. Another directed by Sean Byrne, this time back in 2001. A nice addition from a completist perspective, but a bit bland for this viewer.
A stack of largely forgettable interviews. There is undoubtedly some interesting stuff here but a lot of filler in-between. Featured are actors Robin McLeavy, Xavier Samuel, John Brumpton, Jessica McNamee, art director Robert Webb, makeup bloke Justin Dix and writer/director Sean Byrne.
A behind the scenes featurette shot from the perspective of the film’s runner, which adds a fun perspective to an otherwise relatively dry behind he scenes featurette.
An introduction and Q&A session from the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the film, again prominently featuring director Sean Byrne.
A rather forgettable goof reel.
Four trailers for the film, all quite decent.
The film is not yet available in Region 1. There is an English Region 2 edition available, however it features only a handful of interviews and some production outtakes in the way of extras. Definitely stick to the Region 4 release.
The Australian Region B Blu-ray edition features more extras than the DVD as well as superior technical presentation. Our full review can be found here.
A surprisingly original horror flick from first time feature director Sean Byrne that harks back to the ozploitation greats. Better yet, this kidnapping tale effortlessly harpoons the coming of age muck that is the bread and butter of the Australian film industry without detracting from the horror vibe at all.
The technical presentation is very good. The extras are overwhelming and largely worthwhile.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Optoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|