The Devil's Candy is a parental's worst nightmare
Review by Aaron Haughton
This is a movie that Beavis and Butthead would be all over -- that is if they'd grown up exponentially, finally gotten laid, had children and become somewhat responsible parents. That's not to say, however, that The Devil's Candy is sublimely asinine in any way. It manages to maintain a consistently serious countenance at all times, with a few laughs sprinkled here and there, but it does focus its horror directly at parents, and it is broody and metal heavy in soundscape.
Oh, and there's a fiery climax I'm forgetting to mention... I can just see Beavis, Butthead, and their respective offspring chanting in unison, "Fire! Fire!" The lot of them clearing out of the emptying theater house dully opining, "Uhh, that was cool."
The story centers around an artist (played by Ethan Embry) and his family, who end up buying the house they've always wanted, but which belongs to something with a dark, disturbed past. As they settle into their new home, Jesse (the artist) begins to obsessively work on a new painting, something darker and more twisted than even he, a longtime metalhead, thought he was capable of. Things become more interesting when one of the previous occupants (Pruitt Taylor Vince, who was presumably cast for his trembling irises) shows up at the door one night, an event that quickly and realistically spirals out of control into violence and child abduction and that sweet sweet fire!
It is true what the critics have been saying about writer/director Sean Byrne, he is a talent worthy of watching; he understands the genre's conventions enough to bend them in delightful and interesting ways, and he never pretends to make the movie about something it's not. In fact, at least for me, the main fear Byrne plays with here is a universal fear all parents share: that they won't always be able to protect their children. Everything from the stylization (there is lots of color play with red) to the way Byrne showcases possession (albeit in a less demonic way than you'd expect) to the offbeat story; it's all a breath of fairly fresh air.
With that in mind, this is not exactly the pitch perfect film the critics are playing it off as. It has a few plot holes here and there (like how Pruitt's character just escaped from his mental asylum and is just out wondering on the lam, and in some cases speaking to police), but it's all forgivable because they're relatively minor and the story is one we (or at least me) haven't seen. The film is currently running in select theaters and is available for rent on iTunes, and with a runtime of only 79 minutes there is little to regret here. So, indulge your sweet tooth and take a bite outta this one.
Rating: 3.5 Flying V's out of 5.
What'd you think of the film? Did its parental slant work for you? Share your thoughts and feelings with us in the comments, and, as always, remember to viddy well!