The Devil’s Candy (2015, Sean Byrne) Review
Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco
The Devil’s Candy focuses on a small family who moves into their dream home in rural Texas. The family isn’t exactly perfect; having a love for rock and metal music, the father, who is a painter, struggles to find an establishment to sell his paintings to. Once having settled into their new home with hopes of a better future, the family is struck back as satanic forces possess the home, starting from the father’s devilish paintings to a sociopath in red who stalks their family.
The synopsis itself may not be the most original, but what’s so great about The Devil’s Candy is that it transforms these tropes into effective horror. The film takes a simple plot with a mysterious antagonist, and slowly builds around it. There are no fake jumpscares to deter the viewer, this film has tension filled all over it from the opening scene itself. From that, it never lets go nor stops to an irritating jumpscare to explode all over the third act. The film’s climax is fantastic.
This is also a really stylish horror movie. The cinematography is great and it visually looks marvelous. Bryne has a great eye for color and is a master at controlling light to create atmosphere. The first scene, personally, may not have the best lighting (as it was hard for me to view the scenes as they gone by) unless it was intended by the director, but the rest of the film is stunning at how there seems to be a ferocious heat simmering itself at every frame. This even continues over the credits, and that is really diligent for the filmmakers to do.
The actors and the characters are also great. The characters feel like real people through the screenplay and the actors complimented it greatly. It’s nice to see, despite the short runtime, how we get to care about the characters and the family. I love how the viewer gets to root for each and everyone to persist. I would’ve wanted more spookiness for the antagonistic sociopath, but for the screentime and lines he was given, it was just fine.
The Devil’s Candy has a lot going for, and it obviously way better than the average B-movie horror flick. There is a lot of psychological suspense, some visually great cinematography, and characters who are empathic and are smart as well, given the situation. This may not be the most visceral or gory film, but as a psychological horror, it set out what it needed to do and it succeeded.