You know what? The Devil's Candy is pretty great! As a seasoned horror film veteran I went into it thinking I wouldn't like it. To be exact, I went into it thinking "this is going to annoy me". I've seen some great scary movies. I've seen some a'ight scary movies. And, sadly, I've seen some scary movies that brought more yawns and eye-rolls than real chills.
The Devil's Candy left me pleasantly surprised. Judging from the box art (aka the few screen grabs on Netflix) and short plot tease you'd be right in assuming that this was just going to be another of those run-of-the-mill demonic possession/haunted house flicks that seem to perforate our "Just Added" lists like so many holes in our streaming Swiss cheese. This snap judgement may or may not be the fault of the streaming service. Back in the glory days of Blockbuster and the like, you found new movies by box art. Whichever DVD had the craziest title or coolest art was going home with you that night. The game wasn't perfect though, you were just as likely to end up with a dud as you were to finding video store gold. But, I digress.
The Devil's Candy stars Ethan Embry as a tattooed, long-haired, heavy metal-loving painter. He and his family are looking for a new home and think they may have found a winner in an old house with a history. SURPRISE! The previous tenants died there and their psychotic adult son has disappeared! GASP! But, seriously, this is about where the haunted house/possession tropes end. The set-up is all too familiar, but the rest of the story makes a much needed departure from the genre's tried and true plot points. That's not to say that the film breaks new ground in horror, but it veers away from the expected and that's refreshing. I don't want to spoil too much of the plot as that veering was a lot of the fun with this movie. It leads you into thinking things are going to play out one way and keeps you invested by constantly going another direction. There are plenty of tense moments and a substantial amount of blood and gore to be found later on, too, if that's your thing. Pruitt Taylor Vince costars as the aforementioned psychotic son and does not disappoint.
The Devil's Candy is a surprising horror film, at least for me. It's got the name and plot points of a bargain bin scary movie, but it ends up delivering a lot more, specifically the greatest guitar smashing climax in the history of film.
- + Heavy Metal Horror
- + Cute relationship between Dad and Daughter
- + Pruitt Taylor Vince is as creepy as ever
- + It's NOT another Amityville
- + Guitar SMASH!!!
- - Paintings in movies are lame
- - Poor promotional images on streaming services may not get this film the views it deserves
The Devil's Candy was directed by Sean Byrne and stars Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, and Pruitt Taylor Vince. It is currently available for streaming via Netflix.