With Halloween quickly approaching, I am always up for ingesting as much from the horror genre as I can possibly get. While much of it may be disposable retreads, once in a while I get a gem that really stands out. Such is The Devil’s Candy, a new release on Blu-ray and DVD from Shout Factory.
Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry) is a struggling painter and heavy metal enthusiast living a satisfying if struggling existence with his wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and preteen daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco). Things start to really look promising when Jesse finds a huge property in rural Texas with a large art studio for an insanely low price thanks to the house’s dark past. After the family moves in Jesse finds his work becoming darker and darker and his state of mind while painting more and more zoned out. When Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the unbalanced son of the couple that died in the house previously, returns home for mysterious reasons, Jesse and his family must deal with a much darker reality as they uncover what really happened in the house and what force is now starting to take control of Jesse.
The Devil’s Candy is a very brooding and ominous horror flick that doesn’t take the road usually travelled story wise. It never stoops to genre conventions and keeps the characters at the forefront. Ethan Embry is phenomenal here and reminds us what a great actor he truly is. He seems incredibly authentic and his relationships, especially with his daughter Zooey, seem real and emotionally grounded. And Pruitt Taylor Vince, who you definitely know from one of his over 100 credits on IMDB, is suitable creepy yet still sympathetic. I love films about the influence of evil, whether it be the Devil himself or the evil within human nature and this film takes a nice fresh approach to the story of evil’s influence. Director Sean Byrne has only made one other film, which I also highly recommend checking out, The Loved Ones. A twisted tale of a prom date gone horribly awry. Make it a double with The Devil’s Candy and become an instant Sean Byrne fan. Highly recommended.