The Devil’s Candy Review: A Somehow Boring Mash-Up

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For an occult horror film specifically made for metalheads, The Devil’s Candy sure is boring. That’s mostly because director Sean Byrne doesn’t fully embrace the culture of either, nor the connections between the two that draw similar audiences. Instead, we get a well-filmed thriller that strikes an eery tone, but waits until the last possible minute to do anything with it.

The opening scene shows a middle-aged mentally ill man (Pruitt Taylor Vince) get possessed by a demon and kill his sister with a Flying V guitar. From there, we meet the new family that’s moving into the home. There’s the metalhead father, Jesse (Ethan Embry); the daughter following in his musical footsteps, Zooey (Kiara Glasco); and the cliche uptight mother who doesn’t partake in all their metal rock out sessions, Astrid (Shiri Appleby). Byrne spends so much time developing a family dynamic that really isn’t that fresh or interesting. Whether characters like or dislike metal is what the film uses to define them. Considering most of the first hour of this 80 minute feature is the family spending time together as things start to go awry, you’d hope there’s a little bit more depth to them. Most of what we get is Jesse blacking out and painting disturbing things to build the tension. But that tension really doesn’t pay off.

When the last 20 minutes or so finally roll around, it’s an empty spew of violence and horror, though a well-made one. The cinematography and editing prove that there are some true artists in the crew that know how to make scenes like this genuinely gripping. Pruitt Taylor Vance also makes for a creepy horror movie villain. But by the climax, it’s too little too late. It’s also relatively tame. The film certainly would earn an R rating had it been showed to the MPAA, but not by that much.

What the film boils down to is a thankfully tight little thriller that, while well-made, doesn’t try to break any new ground or really do much at all. The characters are thing and the body count is very low, leaving what is, again, an occult horror film made for metalheads tragically boring. Grade: C-

By Matt Dougherty

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