Before You Break Her Heart, Think It Over
The Loved Ones (2010)
Horror needs more female villains, killers filled with estrogen to rival the genre’s male big dogs (such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, to name a few). There have been a few women invited to join the murderer’s row: the below-middle-ground “Sleepaway Camp” series had Angela Baker; and the latter “Prom Night” entries introduced the homicidal specter Mary Lou. But the role of women in horror has far too often been relegated to victim, or heroine, or nude shower inhabitant.
First-time Australian filmmaker Sean Byrne flips that sad truth on its head with the gonzo “The Loved Ones,” an unhinged — in the best possible ways — blend of extreme gore, wince-inducing shocks and self-aware comedy. Antagonized by a psychotic high-school girl Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), the film’s protagonist isn’t a damsel but a dude in distress. And that’s just one of the many aspects of “The Loved Ones” that feels fresh.