The Devil’s Candy
Written by Sean Byrne
Directed by Sean Byrne
Watched on 30.10.2015
I have a hard time accepting the fact that “The Devil’s Candy” comes from the same guy who gave us the awesome “The Loved Ones” a couple of years back. And not “just” because of an apparent drop in overall quality; but with “The Loved Ones”, he managed so successfully to mix the funny with the scary, while in “The Devil’s Candy” failing completely in that regard – which makes it very hard, if not impossible, for me to conciliate the writer/director of the former with the writer/director of the latter.
“The Devil’s Candy” – or “Deathgasm 2: Paintings from Hell”, as I came to call it – starts off well enough. The beginning is very creepy, and the first third or so does a decent enough job when it comes to acquainting us with the Hellman’s (!). The cast is pretty good, with Pruitt Taylor Vince a particular standout; I just love this guy, and wish that Hollywood would give him more, but above all different roles, and not have him play one creepy, weird psycho-dude after another (then again, it’s still better if they only give him these roles, then none at all). However, the longer the movie progresses, the more apparent are its problems concerning a coherent tone. I actually loved the gloomy and dark-as-fuck scenes that showed Ray Smilie going about his child-murdering business. Those moments really gripped me. However, it didn’t really gel with the scenes concerning Jesse and his paintings, which ranged from darkly funny over absurd to flat-out hilarious. After a bumpy middle part including a weird cameo by Tony Amendola that never amounted to anything, “The Devil’s Candy” then completely derailed during its third act. First, it’s becoming really loud, hysterical and annoying, then the obnoxious overuse of a Hans-Zimmer-like BRAAAM really got on my nerves (especially in the scene where Jesse arrived at the school, where they repeated it over and over and over and over and over again), and then, they topped it all off with a finale that was so ridiculous that I still couldn’t tell you if this extreme disruption in tone was deliberate, or if those scenes just happened to be unintentionally hilarious.
(SPOILERS!) First, you have Jesse getting up despite having a hole in his lung (while his wife turns out to be completely help- and useless), going into a burning room without very much minding the smoke, grabbing the guitar and using it to kill Smilie, and then instead of just grabbing his daughter and fleeing from the flames, he takes a second, grabs his daughter, looks deep into her eyes and asks “Are you okay?”. Dude, just get the fuck outta there! And on top of that, you get one of the quickest sunrises in the history of cinema, as well as the completely inane scene where Jesse suddenly knows where to find the remains of Smilie’s victims. Gimme a fucking break! (/SPOILERS) Either way, I felt that these funny scenes, intentional or not, didn’t fit with the rest of the movie (especially its darker and more disturbing scenes). I liked the setup, the characters, the temporary creepy atmosphere, as well as the bleak, disturbing moments of the movie. But the longer “The Devil’s Candy” went on, the worse it got, ultimately culminating in a completely silly, dumb and ridiculous finale that left me incredibly disappointed. If I were you, I’d rather watch the awesome and in every way superior “The Loved Ones” again.