The Devil's Candy (2015)
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Instead of choirs singing in Latin, The Devil's Candy understands that heavy metal is Satan's real preference. I'm sure the characters in this horror flick didn't MEAN to invoke the Devil with their loud music, but there you go. It's not just a matter of diagetic score either. The climax is right out of heavy metal imagery. Director Sean Byrne doesn't show much, but evokes a lot. His darkest shots are understood through sounds. His editing between the story's demented killer and its demented artist - both being tapped by the Dark Lord - is brilliant. And the people put under threat feel real, upping the tension. The dad and daughter in particular are very original; you don't see these types in films very often, or ever. Now, I was a little mystified by the ending, though not in a bad way. Is there more to it than what we see? Is the way the sun rises a kind of time lapse? What's the meaning of the character's expression? Would another viewing yield more information? I'm not sure. But there's certainly something going on beneath the surface and I like that the protagonist never really puts words to it. It's a richer psychological experience that way.
"This is different. I've never had a muse before. I don't remember painting this. It's like it's, it's like somethin'.. It flowed through me."
I won't beat around the bush. I thought "The Devil's Candy" was unparalleled. And not because of the demonic story itself. But because of the appearance of Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry). A true metal-head who throws himself, stripped to the waist, on a canvas cloth with spray cans during the night. A prehistoric looking guy with lank greasy hair, gleaming because of his with oil smeared muscles. He tries to put the energy he receives from listening to squealing and howling guitars into his artworks. In a way he reminded me of Rob Zombie. The day the family Hellman (appropriate name!) decides to move into a sweet-looking little house somewhere in Texas, Jesse doesn't realize that the dark forces that are present there, will inspire him in a very different way.
It's never really frightening so to speak. No paranormal events or sudden jump-scares that'll spook you. The eerie part is developed in a more subtle way here. The demonic character of a former resident who's either possessed by satanic forces or simply mentally disturbed, is the thing that makes for some scary and eerie moments. I'm talking about Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince). A somewhat fuzzy and labile-like person. Not long after the Hellemans moved, this retarded person shows up at the door and claims that he needs to return to his former home, so he can produce a deafening sound on his red Gibson Flying V again. Noise he needs to produce in order not to hear those adjuring voices. Voices that incite him to perform disgusting acts.
Although it's a horror, it's not really bloody. You can imagine what dreadful murders are happening. And at some point when Jesse is painting again, you'll see fragments of red paint mixed with seemingly bloody fragments. But it's never explicitly shown. There are moments when you can feel the helplessness of a future victim. The powerlessness and the realization what's waiting for them, provide an uncomfortable feeling. Ultimately, you can ask yourself the question whether it's really Satan who's ordering Ray. Or is he just a mentally disturbed person who hears voices and is guided by them. More or less it's explained a bit by the preacher in a religious television program. Satan isn't only that metaphysical character with horns and a pointed tail. It's not only that mask that's being worn at Halloween or the character you'll see in a movie. It's an aggressive anti-Christ who lives among us and uses us to carry out his unspeakable deeds. In a less religious context it simply means the evil that proliferates in humans.
The story isn't very original, but the undertone of the film is fascinating. The fact that the film is filled up with brutal metal sound, creates of course an extra satanic dimension. Personally I still think it's absolutely ridiculous, but the association of Satan with metal is never far away. Well, probably there still are some blockheads who think that Ray's actions are a result of listening to heavy metal. Ultimately, the film balances between a psychic, demonic story, and the story of a serial killer who's guided by an evil influence. I thought it was fascinating enough anyway!
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