The Devil's Candy

06/29/2017 16:35

Film: The Devil’s Candy

Year: 2015

Director: Sean Byrne

Writer: Sean Byrne

Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby and Pruitt Taylor Vince

 

Review:

This film begins with a man lying in bed; he is played by Pruitt Taylor Vince. He hears something talking and it sounds quite creepy. In order to stop it, he plays his guitar really loud. His mother comes in, played by Shiela Bailey Lucas. She tells him that he cannot play that loud at that time of night. He ignores her and she tells him he will go back to the hospital. He chases her out of the room, hitting her with his guitar as she goes to down the stairs. She falls her to death. As this happens, the cross hanging on his wall unhooks and hangs upside down. Her husband and Vince’s father, played by Richard Rollin, opens the door and sees her dead on the floor.

We then shift to Ethan Embry. He is shirtless and painting. We learn that he loves metal music and is a commissioned painter. His daughter, played by Kiara Glasco, opens up the door to his studio and mocks the subject. He is painting butterflies and he tells her that it is for a bank so he has to do what he is asked. Her mother and Embry’s wife, played by Shiri Appleby, enters as well and she scolds him for not showering.

They go to look at a house, the same one that Vince was living in. They look around it and they love it. There is even a large shed that could be a studio for Embry. The realtor does reveal that there were two deaths in the house and he has to disclose that. He plays it off as the woman died of natural causes and the husband couldn’t cope. The realtor also slips that there are other potential buyers. This young family buys the house.

We see Vince move into a hotel. He tries to keep whatever talks to him away by playing his guitar, but someone complains and a deputy shows up, telling him to keep it down. Vince reluctantly agrees to this.

The new family settles in and Embry takes Glasco to school. When he returns and enters the house, he hears the same thing that Vince does. He goes up to Glasco’s room and takes down one of her posters. Behind it is a stain that was around the cross that hung there. He then goes out to his studio and paints a black, upside cross. He is some caught up in his work that he doesn’t hear Appleby come in. He also doesn’t remember painting it.

On the following day, he scans and image on to a flash drive and takes it to a local studio. He was rejected before and the proprietor normally doesn’t give people a second chance. The woman agrees to show him regardless.

The family is visited by Vince and he wants to come home. Embry is rude to him, telling him that he doesn’t live there anymore. Glasco is shocked by how he acts. The next morning Vince has left his guitar. Glasco wants to keep it, but Embry won’t allow it. Embry is supposed to pick her up later that day from school, but he gets caught up in his next painting and forgets.

No longer with his guitar to stop whatever is talking to him, Vince kills a little boy. He buries it on the land that used to belong to his parents. He also sets his sights on Glasco. Can Embry stop him before he takes his daughter? Or will she become the next victim? What is talking to Vince? Is it something sinister or just in his head?

I originally heard about this film from horror podcasts I followed and it took me some time to finally get a chance to watch it. I am glad I finally did, because I loved this film. To start with the story, I find it very interesting to look at a couple of ways. This is considered a haunted house film. What I like about these that are done right is you don’t know if what is going on is real or just in their head. Is the voice Vince hears the devil or just him having a mental disorder. The film would lead you to believe that it is the devil, since Embry hears it as well. Something else about this, Vince goes on to kill people and Embry isn’t effected the same way. It could be that Embry wasn’t there nearly as long, but just something I noticed. I really liked why Vince is killing them, something that is revealed later in the film. The title of the film makes so much more sense after it is revealed. Writer/director Sean Byrne did a great job on the screenplay to me.

As for the acting, I have to say that I was surprised by Embry. He did a great job as the father. You get that feeling of excitement for him when he they buy the house, but you also get the despair as he fails to live up to some of his duties. I got the feeling of pressure from him due to the fact they are behind on their bills as well. This was a bit confusing since they just moved in and weren’t their long though. I also really enjoyed Embry and his character’s transformation at the end. Appleby was good as the foundation of the family, having a steady income to her dreamer of a husband. I was most impressed though by Glasco. I haven’t seen her in anything before this, except for an episode of Haven. She has a bright future as a teen actress. Personally, I hope she sticks with the horror genre. I also want to comment on Vince, who also did a great job. He plays the role that it could be mental illness or it could be the devil telling him to do it. I love where that line is blurred to make it more realistic.

I have to comment on the soundtrack and the audio of this film Byrne did a great job at knowing when to have sound and when not to. This film has a feel of being almost like a rock opera. I’m not big into metal music, but I loved how it was used for this film. It is perfect for the scenes that it is used and then for dramatic effect having scenes where there is no sound completely. I felt that the editing for the film was good. My favorite example is when Embry is painting and Vince kills the child. We see red paint being used and stirred. It is edited next to images of blood being cleaned out a bathroom. I felt it was an amazing juxtaposition and of what Embry’s possession and Vince’s possession forces them to do. The film runs well and I didn’t see where any tightening up was needed. One issue I did have was the computer generated fire that was used in the end. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I understand why it was done. It would make the scene nearly impossible to film if not. The blood looked pretty practical and if it wasn’t, that was an example of great CGI. I also loved the fate of Vince. That brought things full circle for me.

Now with that said, I would highly recommend seeing this film. The story is interesting take on the haunted house. It almost seems to make it into a rock opera, but it also brings the realism of not knowing if what we are seeing is the devil or mental illness. I felt that the acting was very good across the board and I was impressed. I love the soundtrack, even though I’m not a metal fan as well as the use of sound throughout the film. The editing was good. I wasn’t a fan of the fire at the end, but I get it. The rest of the effects looked good. I feel that is one of the better films I’ve seen in some time and would recommend giving this one a viewing for everyone.

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10