Rue Morgue Cinemacabre at the Toronto Underground Cinema
Starring Xavier Samuel, Robin Mcleavy, Victoria Thane, Richard Wilson, Jessica MacNamee and John Brumpton
Written and Directed by Sean Byrne
Yes, it’s that time of the month once again, as the guys from Rue Morgue take over the confines of the Toronto Underground Cinema. As usual, all the familiar faces are there to greet me as we all prepare for the cinematic treat that is The Loved Ones. Unlike last month’s Rue Morgue presentation, I had seen The Loved Ones years before at the Midnight Madness showing as part of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival for those who aren’t familiar). I’ve been singing its praises for years and a chance to see it once again projected on 35MM was a chance I could not pass up. After catching up with the Underground guys and Rue Morgue crew it was time for the film.
The Loved Ones opens with the unfortunate accident that will drive a wedge between Brent (Samuel) and his suffering mother. We fast-forward six months and meet Brent’s best mate, Jamie (Wilson in a very funny performance). Jamie is obsessed with Mia (MacNamee) and is elated when she says yes to going to the big dance with him. Meanwhile Lola (Mcleavy) has an obsession of her own, Brent. She finds out when she asks him to the dance that Brent has been dating Holly (Thaine) and that they are already going together. But we soon find out that Lola does not take rejection lightly, and she enlists her father (Brumpton) in kidnapping Brent and staging a school dance of her own in their home. Concurrently we see Jamie and Mia’s date, and Holly and Brent’s mom looking furiously around for Brent. Through the movie we come to see many things differently as characters come clearer into view. This all leads to a grisly end as things go completely awry with Lola’s plans and the others start to close in.
The Loved Ones is without a doubt one the best genre films of the last decade. A bold statement indeed, but also a true one. Samuel manages to convey a myriad of emotion in a role that has him silent for more than 50% of the film. His Brent is a sympathetic victim/hero, and in the process becomes the heart of the entire film. McLeavy is a revelation. Her Lola starts off as a shy, awkward teen that you really feel for, but then she flips the switch and becomes a menacing and vindictive sociopath. By the end of the film you are desperate for her comeuppance, and boy does it ever come! In fact the growth of most of the characters throughout the film is what truly sets the film apart. Even a supporting character like Mia has a reason for herself self-destructiveness that is revealed in the final moments of her story. Byrne’s script is tight and the direction is on point. He’s a real talent and someone to keep an eye on in the future.
The Loved Ones is loved very much by this writer. It finally looks to be getting a release this year, albeit a very limited one, so do yourself a favor and track it down. It is very gory in parts and ratchets up the suspense very tight, but if you are a genre fan this film is a must. The Loved Ones is a strong recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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