The Loved Ones Review

The Loved Ones (2009)
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine
Directed by: Sean Byrne

The Premise

Lola only wants one thing -- a date for the prom. And when Brent turns her down, he finds out she doesn't take rejection very well...

The First Stitches

This title was suggested to me by CultHorrMetalSarcasm recently when I wasn't sure what I wanted to watch. Being a title I hadn't seen, I decided to look it up and was pretty much sold after checking out the trailer above.

"A 'hertz donit'? No thanks, I already ate."

Mending the Seams

Plot: The story to The Loved Ones is actually split between two situations -- Brent's (Xavier Samuel) kidnapping and his friend, Jamie taking Mia (Richard Wilson and Jessica McNamee, respectively) to the prom. The film plays it as a sort of "light side/dark side" scenario where one provides comic relief through the depiction of semi-typical prom shenanigans and the other...well, you see that poster up top. I'll let you piece that together.

Characters: There is a decent contrast between the characters in The Loved Ones. Brent is a troubled, self-destructive youth who constantly pushes himself out of guilt. Lola (Robin McLeavy) is a sadistic, vindictive psychopath (seriously, just look up). Jamie is...well, your average high school teenager. Mia, like Brent, is also among the darker, more inner troubled teens, but her outlet seems more sexual than masochistic. I really liked the way these characters were played, my favorites being the former two. And let it be said, Robin McLeavy is freaking gorgeous in this movie, and after what I've seen, it actually feels a little weird to say that.
"The fuck is that supposed to mean??"
Setting/Atmosphere: What truly makes this movie is Lola's creepy dungeon home. Everything about this place is the antithesis of "normal". The spinning disco ball was the icing on the cake.

Special Effects: There were many sides to the special effects that I enjoyed. Both the gore and make-up effects in some of the later scenes (I won't spoil any of that for you) were top notch and deserve mentioning.

Music/Audio: The soundtrack to The Loved Ones did well to compliment the atmosphere of the movie. I can't say there was a specific "wow" factor to it, but it was better musically than I initially would have expected. I really liked the contrasting pop music during some of the Lola scenes. In a way it added to the mentally unstable aspect of the character.

The Binding Stitch

To put it easily, The Loved Ones is a movie I do not regret watching. I was even surprised to find the main character of this movie was also in the Twilight series. And anyone who knows me knows I don't expect much from anyone who was in Twilight. But on that same token, this is an Australian horror film. And so far, I've not been disappointed with Australian horror. That being said, I would have to suggest that any horror fan worth their salt give this movie a try. It's part Hostel, part The People Under The Stairs and part Misery all rolled into one fucked up little ball. What more could you possibly want?

And now, my Fray, I ask would you take Lola to the prom?

Dolly Dearest Review

Dolly Dearest (1992)

Starring: Denise Crosby, Sam Bottoms, Rip Torn, Chris Demetral
Directed by: Maria Lease

The Premise

Elliot Wade and family have just moved to Mexico to take over the old "Dolly Dearest" doll factory. What they don't know is a recent, nearby archaeological accident has released a foul and ancient spirit that has decided to possess some of the dolls and wreak havoc. Wanna play...?

The First Stitches

Two things I love are killer doll movies and Denise Crosby. Oh, and Rip Torn. Okay, so that's three things I love. Anyway, I had no idea this was even a movie until maybe in the last year or so. This was one of the first movies I had planned to do a review of, but it was pushed to the back burner for accessibility reasons.

Mending the Seams

Plot: The storyline to Dolly Dearest pretty much revolves around Jessica getting one of the dolls from her dad's factory and the terror it subsequently produces. To set this apart from the likes of, say, Child's Play, it seems they decided to have her act like a bargain bin Reagan from The Exorcist. This accomplishes exactly two things. 1) It avoids a lawsuit. 2) It makes all her scenes more the hilarious when you realize the doll basically turns her into a Jenny Jones guest.

"Hmm...yep, that's a nipple."

Characters: The best characters in this movie were Marilyn Wade (Denise Crosby) and the archaeologist, Karl Resnick (Rip Torn...when he's not losing his shit). I've always been a fan of Denise since Pet Semetary and this role wasn't too far off. I believe an honorable mention should go to little Jimmy Wade (Chris Demetral) in that snazzy suit.

Setting/Atmosphere: One unfortunate aspect to Dolly Dearest is the movie feels like it falls short in the "scary" category and is comfortable with just being "kinda creepy". I did have a few favorite scenes, like the subtle mirror scene and the scenes with the dolls running amok, but the overall run of the movie just lacks enough power to hold onto the feeling provided by the darker scenes.

Special Effects: The effects in Dolly Dearest weren't particularly graphic, but at the very least, the death scenes were still effectively gruesome. I'm still not sure if the sewing machine death was supposed to be funny or not, though.

Music/Audio: The audio aspect of Dolly Dearest is pretty solid. The music cues were appropriate and well orchestrated. The creepy doll voices were done very well. I did like that they didn't all sound the exact same.


The Binding Stitch

Dolly Dearest definitely has all the necessary elements for a doll horror right off the jump: a normal but oh, so creepy looking doll with an adorable but equally creepy kid, a slightly nonsensical story, a hot 90's mom and a station wagon. There are a few bumps along the way, but Dolly Dearest still holds its own as a quirky, but enjoyable horror movie. I believe this is one worthy of being viewed by anyone with a fondness for killer doll movies or Denise Crosby in general. Oh, and Rip Torn.

"Have you seen a killer doll running around here?"

"She went that a'way."

"Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!"
And now, my Fray, I ask what is your favorite doll horror movie?