Tyler here again. If you read my previous (and first) entry you'll know I promised to have horror related posts pop up on here. So here it is, when I want to type about horror you'll find it under the nifty little heading of Morbid Curiosity...
Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day and as much as I enjoy a good drunken romp from time to time, I've known for awhile that my schedule would leave me not wanting to actually try to exert much energy in my free time after work. However, '3/17' kept whispering in the back of my mind, forcing thought and with it a memory that assured I'd still have a good night.
The Devil's Candy was going to be on VOD
I'll admit right here from the get go that I went in biased and rooting for the movie and the premise alone would make it hard for me to not like it. THE DEVIL'S CANDY had been a blip on my radar for awhile, but strangely that's all it had been, a blip. Now, I love diving into news and rumors and sometimes spoilers of pop culture I like and pursuing 'blips' that get my attention is how I spend a lot of my down time. Somehow though, this movie only seemed to either pop up in reference on screen, or be brought to the forefront of my mind at times when I absolutely had to move on to doing something else. The things I knew had me sold though. Metal, Satan, Ethan Embry.
One of those things is not like the others. CAN'T HARDLY WAIT was huge for me growing up. To this day when 'Paradise City' comes on I'll pump my fists and hips in time. Me and my best friend would marvel at the smoothness of the Klepto Kid. In line with all of this I of course have a soft spot in my heart for Ethan Embry.
I Love a lot of music. Showtunes, polka, rock, etc, etc, whatever. Metal is my safe spot though. When I need extra strength or comfort it is there. Both when I need me time and when I need pure primal connection with others it is there. It's playing as I type this.
I really like Satanic horror movies. The ones where the only actual explanation as to why something is happening is Satan. There seems to be a somewhat recent trend through movie narratives in general of having to give explanations. You have to know why the killer is why he is, or how this is able to happen. There's a certain scariness though to things just happening because Evil personified is deciding to do that today. Plus, Satan is pretty metal.
Sold through and through.
I sat down with some corned beef, bangers and mash, soda bread pudding, and a beer and feasted my eyes a mouth. Neither were disappointed.
Overall, the story is rather simple. Family buys house on the cheap due to deaths, and are terrorized by former resident who is under Satanic influence. Said influence is also tearing at the family due to it's influence on Dad, especially the relationship with his daughter. Creepiness and death ensue, who will 'win'? and what toll will it take?
I don't wish to discredit Shiri Appleby (Astrid) at all, she did a great job in this movie and her emotion always seemed genuine to me and on point, but it was the Father/Daughter Ethan Embry/Kiara Glasco Jesse/Zooey connection that sold me on the family in this movie and it's caring about this family that creates the beautiful fear that writer/director Sean Byrne puts the viewer through. The connection through metal is established from the jump, but otherwise isn't as much of a plot element as I thought it may be (I have watched DEATHGASM recently though so it was kind of at the forefront of my mind). They just happen to be metalheads and it helps them bond and informs mostly their aesthetics through the movie. As well as the great soundtrack.
Ethan Embry (Jesse) was good in this with times of bordering on great. His best moments are as a family man and trying to make the right choices. I do have to admit though that his face seemed overly strained, even when it was times of the movie without tension. He also always kind of looked like he just got out of the pit.
Kiara Glasco as Zooey was almost my favorite part of the movie. Good taste in music, calls her dad on his shit, resourceful in the face of death, and she sold it all in my opinion. She was my favorite from the get go, but as the film went on one performance stood out more and more...
Pruitt Taylor Vince does an amazing job as Ray. I feel like I can't quite go into some of the amazing shifts in his performance without some spoilers, which I am trying to avoid, but I'll specifically point to his performance when he interacts with the cop complaining about a noise complaint as a prime example of the showing of a complex struggle across his body language. Take that against some of the cold brutality and frail control of his total possession.
To top it off Sean Byrne puts it all together beautifully. I would rewatch this film again just for the painting/hacksaw murder juxtaposition The mirroring of the movements and swathes of color. He also plays to the fact that Ethan Embry is almost unrecognizable and uses that look in building the madness that's upon him in his work and the shot of him in the facemask starting to spraypaint that was also .
I feel like it's biggest achievement is the fact that with some of the horror that is being threatened in some scenes, the one that had me most on the edge of my seat was wondering if Jesse would make it to the school on time to pick Zooey up. I was worried about what it would do to their relationship, forgetting til the next scene the possibility of other danger. Not something I expected from the Metal Horror Flick.
The battle between good and evil within Jesse is almost palpable at times. The lure of just being able to provide the way he wants to through the influence of the Beast. This slimy grip worms it's way through his choices and the outcomes weigh upon the family, the evil almost seeming to leave a wake that causes further turbulence when evil shows it's true face through Ray.
If I had one gripe with this movie it's that the ending seems far too happy for all that just came before. Maybe too many lucky breaks for it to end the way it does.
You should probably more than likely watch it if you're a horror fan. It's very well done with some amazing visuals and great performances. If you also like metal then make sure to see it. 8/10 I'd say, though I may change my rating system in the future.