It’s been 7 years since director Sean Byrne’s polarizing debut feature film, The Loved Ones and he’s come back with another winner. The Devil’s Candy is a disturbing trip into heavy metal, art and mental illness or possibly satanic possession.
Jesse Hellman (get the pun?) is a painter who just moved his family into an affordable house in rural Texas. The catch is that an older couple recently died in the house, and their estranged son (a standout Pruitt Taylor Vince) just can’t stay away, mostly because demonic voices are constantly murmuring in his ear. To solve this problem he plays loud licks on his amplified guitar! Then Jesse starts hearing the murmuring himself and his painting goes from butterflies to screaming children engulfed in flames. Yikes.
The rest is admittedly underdeveloped and adds little to the sub-genre of demonic serial thrillers, BUT it is well acted (including an unrecognizable Ethan Embry, and Kiara Glasco as his angsty but authentic daughter) and incredibly stylish. You don’t expect this kind of polish for horror movies but it’s clear the director cares about the art of filmmaking. Every splash of light, color, and sound are purposeful and creates an atmosphere of dread, unease, and unpredictability (which is ideal for horror movies). Ultimately, this is a story of the father-daughter bond, a rumination on the artistic soul, and the truest nature of evil. It also has a deep emotional depth that many movies never quite seem to capture. Overall it’s a very satisfying yet disturbing film.
|The boring US streaming artwork|
|The festival circuit poster
that seems too Deathgasm.
|The German version of
the poster is easily the best.
|The more interesting
but satanic US poster