Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Movie Review: "The Devil's Candy" (2017)

Director: Sean Byrne
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 19 minutes

An artist and his family find a wonderful house for a great price because the previous tenants, an elderly couple, died in the house. Everything seems fine and dandy, until the dead couple's mentally disturbed son shows up claiming that it's time for him to come home.

"The Devil's Candy" is the second feature film written and directed by Sean Byrne. It stars Ethan Embry as Jesse Hellman, an artist who is really into the heavy metal lifestyle, which is reflected in his art. Due to monetary problems, Jesse is forced to earn a living by taking commissions painting things like butterflies. He has a wife named Astrid, played by Shiri Appleby, who isn't quite as metal as her husband, and a daughter named  Zooey, played by Kiara Glasco, who certainly takes after her dad in every manner of speaking. This family is able to get a great deal on a large, beautiful country home because the previous tenants died there. Of course, in a horror movie, this is never a good sign as it leaves the door open for ghouls, ghosts, demons, and many other horror elements to return promptly. Upon moving in, Jesse starts having strange feelings and visions, which he in turn expresses through his art. On top of that, the deceased couple's mentally disturbed son Ray, played by Pruitt Taylor Vince, shows up saying he needs to come home...and not in a good way.

This film is an ultra slow-burning horror with many disturbing elements. It is not one that relies heavily on blood and guts, but rather on a meticulous build up of characters leading to intense situations and a crazy climax. When the film first begins, we get a lot of "The Amityville Horror" type of vibes as Jesse Hellman, (get it?? Hell-Man??) begins hearing things and starts creating unsettling paintings that border on demonic. Ethan Embry also does a stellar job and is able to make a very believable artist and caring father who happens to love heavy metal. He is scary and scary good here. There are also elements of a "Son of Sam"-type of psycho serial killer going on with the character of Ray. Pruitt Taylor Vince does an expert job portraying a somewhat childlike naivety, but at the same time, is a very frightening character. His interactions with Zooey are enough to send chills down your spine. It's a really great performance from Taylor Vince. Everything that happens builds to a fantastic, exciting final act that is extremely tension-filled with some horrific happenings.

Thanks to Sean Byrne's expert direction, the entire thing is elevated above the typical horror movie fare with his use of different and unique camera angles, as well as the way he plays with the light and color of his scenes. It's creepy and terrifying, but super satisfying and really pulls the audience into its grungy story. "The Devil's Candy" is not a long movie. At just under 80 minutes, it's a relative breeze to watch and will be well worth your time if you're into horror movies.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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