The Devil's Candy online movie review - Which will be the anomaly - Devil's Candy or The Loved Ones
As a HUGE fan of the Loved Ones, I was beyond excited to see Sean Byrne's follow-up, The Devil's Candy.
After watching it, I've deduced that either the Loved Ones was a fluke fantastic film by a poor director, or The Devil's Candy is a fluke terrible film by a great director. Only time (and more movies by Byrne) will tell.
The film opens with a mentally challenged fat man who is troubled by a persistent satanic voice echoing all around him. He tries to drown it out with his electric guitar, but when his mother asks him to stop (given that it is 3 am), the voice makes him kill her and his father. Cue an artist, his wife and their metalhead daughter moving into the same house, where the artist starts hearing the same demonic voice and painting disturbing paintings under its trance. The mentally challenged man also returns, trying to infiltrate his old house and harm the family. And I don't want to spoil anything so I will stop here.
I think the main issue with the film is that it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a B-movie parody of house haunting / possession films, or a more serious and disturbing film. It settles on neither and flip flops every few minutes, which really doesn't work. One of those two options should have been pushed to "entertaining" levels, instead of including both to an underwhelming degree.
On the B-movie side of things, the family interactions were all made as cheesy as possible, with weak dialogue and containing "family moving into a new house" tropes at every step of the way. The bizarre choice of pitting a "Jesus" lookalike (the painter) vs a demonic voice is too over-the-top. Not to mention that this Jesus figure has way too many scenes of being an "intense artist", aka looking like the girl from Not Another Teen Movie who paints stick figures. They're all gratuitously nude to boot - him in his underwear stabbing a canvas, flailing his brush like a madman, intensely slathering paints on a palette - a total parody. The whole "art world" is presented as a parody in general, the movie even contains evil gallery managers/owners trying to "make the poor artist fail", cause THAT's how the art world works. All they were missing was a moustache to twirl in the process.
Coupled with this, we get what comes off as an attempt at a serious "plot" which was of about the same quality as a Tales from the Crypt or Medium episode, and not one of the good ones. The twists and turns are neither smart nor interesting, the final "reveal", if I can call it that, again comes off as a parody of horror (despite obviously being shot in a way attempting to be serious). The movie lacks any kind of scares, really. The paintings which the artists paints under the voice's trance are so laughable in their quality and supposed creepiness. If you're scared of common 1970s album covers, then you might find them creepy, otherwise not. Not to mention that the director forgot to show us what the artist's style ACTUALLY was like before the demon voice, so we have no basis for comparison of how his art has changed now. The movie even has regulation idiot cops which can't do anything right...why even feature them, they had no other purpose (they weren't comic relief or anything).
The only upside I can name (and it was a struggle to come up with one) is that a few of the scenes have somewhat creative setups and camera angles (such as the "closet scene", I liked the way it was shot).
I would strongly recommend skipping this one, it is not a good example of what the horror genre can provide its audience.