THE DEVIL'S CANDY Review: 8 out of 10 (To Hell with the Devil)
THE DEVIL'S CANDY is a new indie horror film written and directed by Sean Byrne. The film stars Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, and Pruitt Taylor Vince. Embry plays Jesse--a struggling artist with a penchant for metal music. Jesse and his wife and teen daughter have just found their dream home in the country. It has space, land, and a great workshop for Jesse to focus on his work. The house also is host to some demonic presence. With his beard and long hair Jesse easily doubles for a Jesus look-alike. And that visual dynamic works in the movie's favor as the house begins to shape and influence Jesse and his painting.
Meanwhile, Ray Smilie (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is the former resident of the house and cannot seem to shake off the demonic influence of his former residence either. Believing he is the hand of Satan himself, Ray takes to playing metal guitar at loud volumes to drown out the voices in his head. When that doesn't work...he begins to listen to them. What follows is terrifying indeed. All the while, Jesse is unconsciously painting representations of the satanic crimes that Ray is out committing. Both seem to be channeling dark forces...neither are able to stop it.
THE DEVIL'S CANDY is a pretty fresh take on the demonic possession theme of horror films. With Jesse as a "metalhead rocker dad" it seems to offer some commentary on the flaws of parenting kids simply as their friend and buddy. Byrne makes good use of a metal soundtrack to provide tension, foreboding, action, and dread. Pruitt Taylor Vince is a regular in the B-movie scene, and has done his share even in the horror genre. Here he is certainly at his creepiest. He builds an absolutely frightening and chilling character in Ray Smilie--a man who watches the Catholic mass on TV while donning plastic bags and preparing to slaughter kids. Just thinking about it again gives me the willies.
With a metal theme and an original take, THE DEVIL'S CANDY is worth your time--particularly for fans of the horror genre. Bang your head and grab a crucifix.