When you buy the home of your dreams, you expect some magical moments with your family: not to have a deranged, former occupant attempt to invade your home and dismantle everyone in his path. This occurs in “The Devil’s Candy” which made its Quebec premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
Jesse (Ethan Embry; “Late Phases”, “Cheap Thrills”), Astrid (Shiri Appleby; “Roswell” TV series, “Swimfan”) and their daughter Zooey find their dream house at a cheap price due to the deaths of the former owners on that same property. It doesn’t take long before Jesse, an artist who paints for a living, begins to hear sinister voices and sees his art begin to take a turn for the obscure. He also begins to get lost in his paintings, losing track of time, and forgetting about his own daughter and his responsibilities as a father. Someone else who is hearing the dark, constant voices from this home is the son of the former proprietors who has an uncontrollable desire to move back into the house he once lived in, no matter how many people he must rip apart in the process.
Writer/director Sean Byrne, who also wrote and directed “The Loved Ones”, comes back in force with an in-your-face killer-supernatural suspense-horror. The soundtrack is commanding; the camera work gives for original views of powerful scenes; the violence is present and only escalates as the film progresses; and the acting is on point. All things that, when meshed together in complementary ways, make for an intense 79 minutes.
I’m a big fan of Ethan Embry ever since I saw him in “Cheap Thrills”, which was in my top 3 best movies of Fantasia Festival’s 2013 edition. He shows off that he isn’t a one-trick pony in “The Devil’s Candy”, portraying a long-haired, metal music-loving painter. The fire in his eyes, whether from being in love with his wife, to the way he is hypnotized by his own art as it becomes more and more sinister, to the inevitable, sheer fear as his family is in danger, continues to impress.
Pruitt Taylor Vince (“Constantine”, “Monster”, “Natural Born Killers”), who portrays the deranged killer, does a great job at making us believe that the voices he hears in his head have taken over his mind and his life. He succeeds in evoking emotions of pity at one moment and horror at others. The careless way he dispatches of former victims is both shocking and disturbing.
Reminiscing aspects of “The Amityville Horror” with the added stress of a former tenant’s unhinged mind process makes for a stressful and interesting film. “The Devil’s Candy” deserves 4 stars out of 5.