Plot: When Jesse and his family buy an old farmhouse in rural Texas, they believe that they’ve finally accomplished the American Dream, despite there being a recent murder in the house. But as time goes by Jesse, a struggling artist who’s sole income is painting comissions for banks, etc, begins to have strange experiences in his home studio which result in some horrific paintings. As he struggles to understand why this is happening, a rather rotund and disturbed stranger begins to harass his young daughter both at home and at school.
The Good: What I immeaditely liked about The Devil’s Candy is that it featured an artist as its protganonist and it used his painting and heavy metal as a means to show the influence of something supernatural and sinister. It went about this in a serious way, rather than being satrical or cartoonish. Nor did it have an underlying message that these forms of creativity were ‘evil’ unto themselves, which some conservatives and Bible thumpers may have you believe. Often in Hollywood you see metal heads portrayed as stoners/burn outs and artists as flaky and/or snobs or bumbling cliches. I liked the fact that Jesse was portrayed in a relatable manner as a guy struggling to support his family, raise his daughter and at the same time persue his passion of art. I could relate his overdue bills, rejections from galleries, and having to paint the perverbial, or in Jesse’s case the literal, butterflies to make some cash.
I also liked the fact that unlike the one thousand and one clones of Amityville out there, Jesse did not become the crazed lunatic possesed by the devil. I thought it was a refreshing change of pace from the archtype that the possession/haunted house movies usually follow.
The events of the movie do take a toll on the relationship between Jesse and his daughter, which I thought was a good approach. Sometimes movies or books show people bonding when experiencing horrific events, but I felt it was far more realistic to have a rift between Jesse and his daughter develop over the course of the plot. It also added complexity to the conflict that Jesse was going through. Not only did he wonder if he was going mad from all the weird experiences in his studio, but he also faces the peril of the stranger threatening his family and on top of it the self-doubt and anguish of not being able to protect his daughter and having her lose faith in him as a result.
The acting overall was well done, in particular there’s a short scene between Jesse and an art gallery owner that is super creepy. There’s nothing violent or grotesque about the scene, but it defintely fills Jesse and myself as a father, with unease.
The Devil’s Candy manages to tie together all the characters and subplots together at the end pretty well. It’s not going to hold your hand and tell you absolutely everything, but I was happy with the conclusion. In the end I felt that I had a good idea as to why Jesse was experiencing what he did, and that he and his family would never be quite the same afterward.
The Bad: There really isn’t anything that struck me as awful in this movie. However there is a scene during the final confrontation between Jesse and the stranger that just looks like really cheap or poorly done CGI. It did ruin the immersive effect the movie had up to that point, but in the end didn’t kill the ending for me.
Conclusion: The Devil’s Candy is far more psychological with bits of supernatural in it, but it does contain the kidnapping and murder of young girls as part of its backstory. If your sensitive to that type of subject matter your better off not seeing it.
The Devil’s Candy is not a gory movie and other than a few violent acts in the beginning and end, it’s not excessive. It’s far more psychological than anything else.
If you enjoy metal, then you’ll probably enjoy the inclusion of various metal tracks in the movie and the realistic portrayal of a metal head like Jesse and his daughter. The Devil’s Candy is a smartly written and well acted movie that’ll appeal to you if your idea of horror goes beyond ‘gorehound’ film and cheap scare tatics. If you’re looking for an interesting spin on the whole ‘Amityville’ type subgenre of horror then I recommend this one to you. I saw it on Netflix, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find it elsewhere.