04 November 2015

THE DEVIL'S CANDY (Viennale International Film Festival 2015)


USA, 2015
Director: Sean Byrne


I'm not sure if Sean Byrne is one of these filmmakers who have only one good movie in them, but... damn, I don't know, but there's something about him and his, um, output that leads me to this conclusion. Byrne burst into the horror scene in 2009 with the absolutely amazing "The Loved Ones", one of the best horror movies of the last 15 years. Since then, he hasn't made anything else. I remember an interview from a couple of years ago where he discussed the possibility of a sequel or prequel to "The Loved Ones", but nothing ever came to fruition.

Now in 2015, he finally returned with his second feature "The Devil's Candy" (perfectly described by my blog buddy Christian as "Deathgasm 2: Paintings from Hell" LOL) which takes place in rural Texas where Jesse, a struggling painter-slash-metalhead and his family, move into their dream home, not knowing that the previous owners (an elderly couple) were brutally murdered by their very own son. Not long after they settled in, Jesse becomes obsessed by Satanic forces who strongly affect his painting style, while at the same time, the murderous son comes back and starts to stalk Jesse's daughter.

The movie consists of a few really great ideas, interesting story elements and cool characters. Unfortunately, as a whole, Byrne's second directorial effort is a huge disappointment, a sloppy and half-assed mess that desperately tries to imitate its predecessor in terms of build-up, atmosphere, plot twists and insane finale, yet fails to come anywhere near his debut masterpiece. The main problem is that Byrne just couldn't decide what movie he wanted to make, resulting in a frustrating genre-amalgamation that never really works. There's semi-haunted houses, and there's satansim, and child murderers, and serial killer, and Metal-fandom, more Metal-fandom, even more Metal-fandom, and "Pickman's Model", and art-scene critique, and comedy, and shocks, etc. etc. etc.
There's simply too much of everything in it.

Yet, the worst thing about it is the ending. I've seen the movie together with 5 of my friends. Some of them enjoyed it, some of them didn't - but we all agreed on how shitty the ending was. A dumb and annoying 10-15minute climax, followed by a batshit ludicrous and totally aggravating ending scene that is just daft. None of us could tell if it was meant to be funny, dead-serious or if it was actually unintentionally ridiculous. Doesn't matter, it wouldn't have worked for us either way.

Good thing, the movie isn't a complete disaster, thanks to a couple of fantastic performances from Ethan Embry ("Late Phases", "Cheap Thrills"), Pruitt Taylor Vince ("Natural Born Killers", "Identity"), Kiara Glasco ("Maps to the Stars"), Shiri Appleby ("Swimfan") and a fun semi-cameo by Leland Orser ("The Guest"). The whole thing was fabulously edited, breathtakingly filmed, lighting and production design look awesome, the paintings look rad, all the kills were executed in a badass way, there's lots of epic doom/drone metal from Sunn O))), as well as some more eargasmic music from Mads Heldtberg ("You're Next") and Michael Yezerski ("Redd Inc.").

Nevertheless, I couldn't do much with "The Devil's Candy". It's not bad, but contrary to "The Loved Ones" which I could basically watch all the time and over and over again, I definitely don't ever wanna see it again.

1 comment:

  1. The plot sounds interesting, but the execution sounds meh.


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