Good horror takes chances. It asks its audience to accept the death and pain of characters we may sympathize with. And it can drag us through hell without blinking an eye.
Sean Byrne's latest is a story of familial doom and gloom highlighted by great performances and an entrancing subtext that questions parental duties. While not fully on par with his last movie, Byrne knows how to grab his viewer by the throat and force feed them small helpings of definitive evil topped by the sweetness of extreme death scenarios.
The Devil's Candy is a textured film that tilts the genre on its head by intermingling heavy metal, tripped out satanic visuals, and the old school domestic nightmares of the original Amityville Horror. Instead of relying on the same tactics as his Loved Ones, Byrne already reinvents himself by not recreating the same dynamics over again. Involving a struggling painter that's being overtaken by visions of demonic evil, this tasty morsel of near genre perfection relies on a gritty feel, brooding exterior shots, terrific lighting, and distorted metal music tones that create a chilling soundtrack of pulsating audio creepiness. As he did with his first film, Byrne revels in an atmospheric type of horror that pits virtuous characters against an all encompassing terror that's bent on creating anguish and death.
Where his Loved Ones had a satirical comedic edge that poked fun at genre tropes, The Devil's Candy is pure darkness from front to back. Relying on a nearly unidentifiable Ethan Embry and a cast that doesn't shy away from this nightmare scenario, Byrne gives the genre a much needed kick in the ass. After a mostly disappointing 2016, this ritualistic bit offers a visually adept piece of work marked by head smashing scenes of violence, another self propelled devilish performance by Pruitt Taylor Vince, and a steady stream of terrifying moments marked by an underlying sense of never ending dread. At a short run time of 80 minutes, Byrne could have easily equipped this feature with a longer conclusion and more backstory for our emotionally ravaged antagonist.
|Everybody shut up! Can't you see I'm ripped? And I'm painting.|
If you were a fan of The Loved Ones, you'll totally dig where Byrne went with this one. It's a departure from his last but still maintains the same coolness factor while also being hard edged horror. The Devil's Candy doesn't waste one second getting down to the nitty gritty. After spending two years waiting for an official release, this devil is on the loose and he wants to feed. If you're into gradient horror with awesome editing, see this movie. Now. I said now.