MIFF #13: The Loved Ones was one of a handful of Australian films receiving their world premieres at MIFF and the raucous crowd screamed, clapped, laughed and cheered their way through this gruesome and macabre film in appreciation.

Brent (Xavier Samuel), a good looking teenage boy, has a beautiful sexy girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine), and they make plans to go to the school formal together. However, quiet Lola (Robin McLeavy) has become obsessed with Brent and jealous of his relationship with Holly so she enlists her father’s help to kidnap him on the eve of the dance.

What unfolds is shocking and gory, as mad Lola and her equally mad Dad set up their own version of the formal with twisted forms of torture involving hammers, power tools and hot water.  Several times Brent looks like he’s going to escape and the audience cheered him on every time, with the lady next to me screeching ‘look behind you’. Despite the sadistic turns, the film rocked in its hyper-real ambience and was an enjoyable horror romp. Just don’t watch it alone!