nziff ’10: The Loved Ones
Dir. Sean Byrne | Australia | 2009 | 84 mins.
Imagine if Harry Dean Stanton’s character in Pretty in Pink (he played the dad) had been a psychopathic murderer, and you’re halfway to the plot of Australian director Sean Bryne’s début film. The other half is composed of a mix of Misery-like sadistic cruelty and a whole bunch of high-school teen movies blended together. Set in (semi-)rural Victoria, the film centers on a teenage girl, only ever called ‘Princess,’ who seeks revenge on the object of her affection—played by the Heath Ledger-esque Xavier Samuel, who’s apparently in one of those Mormon abstinence parable movies—after he rejects her invitation to the school dance.
The relatively low-budget film has an awesome, refreshingly Australian-oriented soundtrack—prominently and un-ironically featuring a Kasey Chambers song—and some truly stunning cinematography. It’s slated for limited release sometime in late August but I implore you: whatever you do DON’T watch (all of) the trailer, it gives away far too much.