I’ve got a bit of a backlog of movies to report on. There’s been some time to watch spooky stuff, but not much time to write about it.
“The Devil’s Candy” is a film that has come up a couple of times on Facebook. A few of my Facebook pals have spoken highly of it. So, sure, I decided to give it a try.
Released in 2015, the film stars Ethan Embry, an actor I remember from the 90s films “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “That Thing You Do,” and “Empire Records.”
He was also in “Dutch.”
I remember him as kind of a wide-eyed, sort of goofy, but generally likeable character actor, but I lost track of him somewhere around 2000, where he moved on to more serious stuff.
With the stringy blond hair, ragged beard and tattoos, Embry is barely recognizable as the approaching middle-age metal-head father and painter, Jesse Hellman, in “The Devil’s Candy,” though his character has some of the same earnestness that you see in his earlier work.
The story revolves around Jesse, his wife and daughter moving into an old house with a bad history. The previous owners died –apparently by accident, everyone in the film believes (though we know different).
It’s a nice house and “Gee, wouldn’t it be a shame to let the place go to waste just because of a couple of dead people?”
This all seems like stupid horror film logic, but then again, I’ve been through the whole home buying process. When you’re looking for some place half decent that’s in your budget, you’re willing to put up with a lot.
I’d be OK with some dead people just to have some better windows. Cultists could definitely have tried to call up C’thulhu at some point, if it would have knocked a hundred bucks a month off my mortgage.
It beats renting.
Boiled down, the thread of “Hard Candy” follows bad things are happening, a reluctant serial killer serves the devil, loiters around the family home, which used to belong to his parents.
The cops know about the serial killer, of course, but seem to figure that it was just a phase, something he did when he was a kid, but he’s fine now, except for creeping everyone out.
Then things get worse. People die. There is some teen angst and Mom isn’t a huge fan of heavy metal music for some reason, though she’s married to a guy who looks he’s a roadie for Slayer.
How does that even happen?
“The Devil’s Candy” is fun, but it is also a mess. There’s a vein of demon possession or demonic influence that may be connected to the house, to Pruitt Taylor Vince’s tortured serial killer character or even to Jesse, but then there’s the issue with the painting Embry’s character is working on.
Is it prophesy, a warning, a love letter from hell?
Who can say? Maybe all three. Maybe something else.
And what’s the deal with the art dealer (played by an uncredited F. Murray Abraham) named Belial, who shows up to maybe tempt Jesse?
Thanks to a good long time spent playing “Dungeons and Dragons,” I know the name Belial belongs to a Duke of Hell. So all the hours spent reading the “Monster Manual II” during high school weren’t wasted.
Abraham is there, he pours a couple of drinks, and splits without accomplishing a lot, except maybe saying again that the devil is involved with Jesse on a very personal level.
It has to be the name, Jesse Hellman. He’s Hell’s man, get it?
Anyway, the ending almost feels like something out of a Kirk Cameron film. I wasn’t satisfied with it and felt like it was a cop out.
As I said, “The Devil’s Candy” is fun, but not particularly smart. The acting is good, even if the story could have used some fine tuning.
You can find “The Devil’s Candy” on Netflix.