New Horror Releases: Dread presents Candy Corn (2019) - Reviewed

A group of bullies decide to lay some hazing on a local social outcast known to be slow-witted, big and quiet. Their actions meet with a bit of resistance and, as the devil would have it, the victim ends up dead. He is mysteriously resurrected, wearing a mask while he slices and dices his way through those who wronged him.

Is it Jason? With some loose margins for creative license, could it be Michael Myers? Maybe it could even be another of the myriad of horror characters with the same modus operandi, the same dress code and the same mute charm being mass-produced like iPhones?

Take a wild guess, because we have all been subjected to the same brand of typical revenge slasher throughout the years and not surprisingly in this climate of cinematic regurgitation of pre-chewed plots, characters and murders. Halloween is not an excuse to repeat the same aria of predictable kills and rotten storyline. In fact, what stands as horror lately simply insults the intelligence of audiences who lived through the '80s while it corrupts the newbies into accepting lame plots and listless characters out of hand.

This aforementioned rant is one of the very few things I did not like about Candy Corn, recently released during September 2019. However, there are some good reasons to watch this new horror by writer/ director Josh Hasty, although it would not satisfy a craving for something original.

Off the bat, Candy Corn presents high quality technical specs, interesting sets and a wonderfully authentic feel for the retro films of the '70s and '80s. Set in this era, Candy Corn has a great atmosphere, supported by a good score and snappy camera work. Unfortunately, Candy Corn tries so hard to establish a new horror icon that it forgets to be original and most importantly – frightening.

With the incomparable Tony Todd behind this film as executive producer and supporting actor, it is small wonder that the film bears some resemblance to some of the prominent Candyman’s past engaging films. The film feels bleak (in a good way) and real, especially where we initially meet the characters on the grounds of a carnival. If you like Rob Zombie films with a William Blatty touch of class, Candy Corn will be sweet on you.

Slow-motion shots and cutbacks are used perfectly to promote the eerie, old school vibe of Candy Corn and its inevitable Halloween slaying spree. We follow the sheriff as he trails the smear of blood running across his town, but even with the delightful overkill in the death scenes, we are left unimpressed by the banality of the film’s climb towards a climax.

If only the thought of the killer was scary, Candy Corn would have a much stronger impact, but there is not enough of the main character to introduce us to the horrendous things he is capable of before the fact. Once again, this leaves us sympathizing with the monster, instead of pissing our pants at the mere sight of his shadow. Such impotence is the scourge of today’s horror villains, but admittedly, Candy Corn is still hugely entertaining and atmospheric.

Enjoy a throwback to gems like One Dark Night when you munch away on Candy Corn’s retro bliss, packaged in a fine Pumpkinhead vibe….and bucket.

-Tasha Danzig