When he moves his family into a new home in the country, a struggling painter begins getting inspiration from demonic forces.
The Devil’s Candy is a film that debuted at TIFF in 2015. It’s a follow up film for Australian director Sean Byrne, known for his 2009 horror film The Loved Ones. Fans of his previous film were long anticipating what he’d come out with next, and from what I’ve heard, they aren’t disappointed.
This film stars Ethan Embry (Sweet Home Alabama, Brotherhood), Shiri Appleby (Unreal), Pruitt Taylor Vince (The Walking Dead), and Kiara Glasco. At first, I thought I was in for something similar to The Amityville Horror, where a family moves into a new house and the husband starts hearing voices telling him to kill his family. I was pleasantly surprised when this wasn’t the case.
Just as how The Loved Ones subverted the tropes of the torture film, Byrne’s newest film subverts assumptions about the haunted house sub genre. As a viewer, as soon as the husband/father character starts hearing demonic sounding voices giving him inspiration for twisted paintings, we assume it’s the house. We assume the father figure is going to be the threat. This is far from the case in The Devil’s Candy.
The story in this film is interesting, although not a masterpiece by any means. It certainly has its flaws. Despite all of this, it has some great performances, and it’s incredibly fun to watch. The climax is so ridiculous and metal that I had to tell people about it. I was raving about it for hours after I watched it. I even bumped this review up in my schedule to be posted as soon as possible.
It is a bit of a shame to compare The Devil’s Candy to The Loved Ones, but I’m seeing a lot of people do it. I think they’re both great movies in their own right. If you are looking to compare them, there are many things about The Loved Ones that are superior. Since I’m more of a haunted house person, I enjoyed The Devil’s Candy more. This film was right up my alley.
I have to give it to Sean Byrne though. He writes some interesting stories. He writes very interesting characters. That’s something I noticed in both of his films. The characters are good enough to keep me invested, even if I’m not into the sub genre.
I loved Ethan Embry as Jesse Hellman in this movie. He gave off a slight Woody Harrelson vibe to me. It was great. I loved the relationship between father and daughter. I wish there had been a bit more between husband and wife though. The performance from Shiri Appleby could have been better. It feels kind of hollow. In her defense, I will say that the character didn’t really supply a lot for Appleby to work with in the first place. In the end though, it kept me invested throughout. That’s always a plus for me.
It’s always a joy to come across a movie while doing these reviews that I would gladly and openly recommend to others to watch. The Devil’s Candy is one of those films. It’s got just the right amount of camp and ridiculous to make it stand out among its competitors, while still being serious enough to deliver some good tense moments and scares to stick with you.