Review: “The Devil’s Candy” Starts Off Slow and Moves Into Ridiculousness
One of my favorite horror movies of all time is Sean Byrne’s “The Loved Ones”. I remember when my fiancee kept trying to get me to watch it and I kept opting for something else. Finally one day I surrendered to her pleading and thank God I did. It’s creative, violent, and exciting. You can only imagine how happy I was to introduce her to his second film, the recently released “The Devil’s Candy”; that is until we watched it. Unfortunately Byrne has fallen victim to that ol’ sophomore slump and it became apparent very quickly why this film was made in 2015 but wasn’t available to view until now.
I liked the main protagonists, a family of heavy metal rockers known as the Hellmans (played by Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, and Kiara Glasco), but the situation they find themselves in is not only completely uninteresting, it offered up questions that never really get answered. When they buy their dream house, the Hellmans couldn’t be happier. That is until a mentally disturbed man, Ray Smilie (Pruitt Taylor Vince), that used to live there shows up at their doorstep and is ready to come back home. While Ray is constantly playing a guitar as loud as possible to drown out the voice of Satan, Jesse Hellman (Embry) is also battling with hearing the same voice that’s guiding his hand as he paints. Due to the nature of the devil’s mumbling, we never know what is actually being said, but it seems that he wants the souls of children and has chosen Ray to do his dirty work. Taking an interest in the Hellman’s daughter Zooey (Glasco), Ray continues to break into their house to see her, go to her school, and ultimately decides she has to die just like the rest. This is where a problem enters into the story. It seems like a pretty small town (I mean there’s like, what, four police officers?) yet they can’t find a very large man in a tracksuit walking around in broad daylight. It seems like a pretty open landscape as well yet Ray somehow seemingly pops out of nowhere to surprise a lot of his victims.
A majority of the film revolves around the family settling into their new home, dealing with a crazy man on the loose, and Jesse trying to get his art sold but struggling with getting respect until the devil starts guiding his hand. This all leads up to the final moments of the film where Byrne was trying to break up the monotony of the first two acts with a hectic third one but ultimately did nothing to prove it was worth the wait. Where “The Loved Ones” had violence that served the story, the violence in “The Devil’s Candy” seems like a rush job to get to the end credits, and since the tension of the film wasn’t completely sold, it ended up being a lot of noise without a lot of payoff.
Unfortunately “The Devil’s Candy” did nothing to separate itself from the hundreds of horror movies that come out each year, ultimately becoming one that should keep getting pushed to the bottom of the pile until you have nothing else to watch.