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The Devil’s Candy (Blu-ray Review)

The Devil’s Candy comes from director Sean Byrne who gave us the beloved little indie/underground horror film, The Loved Ones back in 2009. Now, Scream Factory and the folks over at IFC Midnight are teaming up (Surprise, right?) to bring it to Blu-ray This film had been done since 2015, but finally was getting show around just this very year.  Its a fresh, newer, modern horror movie to add to their slowly yet quickly expanding library of modern horror films that themselves are already under ground. This one will be releasing on September 19th, so don’t everybody at once rush down to click on that attractive, helpful Amazon link.  Oh and did I mention it has the star of Can’t Hardly Wait, That Thing You Do, Poppa Georgio himself, Ethan Embry as a metalhead?

Film 

Diehard metal-head and struggling artist Jesse moves with his wife and daughter to a rural Texas town, unaware that the house they got for an unbelievable deal comes with a grisly history. Their dream home turns into a nightmare as disturbing demonic occurrences culminate with the appearance of Ray, the home’s former resident – who’s destined to do the devil’s bidding.

The Devil’s Candy offers some treats, but ultimately its got some nice horror ideas and scenes of violence that don’t add up to be engaging. It felt as if talent was in place and people knew what they were doing, the end product just wound up being “almost there”. Overall, the story is just a little bit of elements you’ve seen from other stories put together the winds up being a little ho hum and been there done that in its feeling.

One thing that got me to perk up was that Ethan Embry was in this movie. I was a fan of his back in the 90s and really thought he was going to take off to some sort of stardom. He’s been carving a little bit of niche for himself in the horror genre it seems with movies like this and the absolutely marvelous Cheap Thrills from a few years back as well as appearing on The Walking Dead. Here, he’s almost unrecognizable as a painter that is also a heavy metal enthusiast (this movie seems an ode to the whole satan-metail thing).

Pruitt Taylor Vance is our villain here and this is very much a Pruitt Taylor Vance role. He’s mentally disturbed or is he possessed?  The character is a big brooding physical force of nature and just doesn’t give a flip. Vance makes it very uncomfortable when he commands the screen and command he does. While, yes, we’ve seen him in roles like this before, he’s still very damn good in them.

There are interesting ideas and some well done scenes, effects and prop usage in this movie. For some reason, it just doesn’t all add up for me. Its a swift 80 minutes long and does move quick, so its not a slog to watch. And don’t think I’m saying its terrible, its not, its just not quite there for me, but an okay watch enough. Check this one out on a rental first if you’re curious.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail: The Devil’s Candy proves to be some pretty decent eye candy. Its full of detail and has this really sharp, rustic look to it. You can make out the dirty details real well. One thing in particular that came across well is that there is a scene where a character is completely on fire and it utilizes CG and this movie is cheap, but the effects really hold up quite well.

Depth:  Solid spacing work on background and foreground. The image moves naturally with minimal blur or jitter when frantic actions occur.

Black Levels: Blacks are really deep in a rich. No crushing was witnessed during the viewing for this review. This film has some really dark moments in it that do make it hard to see. But, then again it also enhances the crispness and helps to define the image a bit more.

Color Reproduction: Colors on this are a little natural here but do produce some pop, especially a fire toward the conclusion really brings some flare.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and maintain a consistent timing from the beginning to end of the film. Facial details come on very strong with stubble, wrinkles, blemishes, dirt, ash, lip texture and make-up really showing up plain as day.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics: This features a solid 5.1 track that really just gets the job done. Nothing too extravagant and crazy for this one, just doing its one job very well. Sound travels freely, feels distinct and loose. The fire at the end is a pretty nice treat for the ears as well.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Score hits, jump scares, punches, shots fired, engines roaring and more are enhance as Kara tries to listen them.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is mainly a front heavy track, but when asked to, the rear comes up in full force. Sound travel is very accurate to the screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear. Loud action? No problem. Plenty audible.

Extras 

The Devil’s Candy comes with reversible cover art featuring one of the original posters.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Sean Byrne

Behind the Scenes: Visual Effects (HD, 3:22) – The visual effects supervisor gives a little overview, but mainly talks about the fire at the end of the film like a commentary but using different clips and raw shots and text shots.

Advantage Satan Short Film (HD, 10:52) – A couple getting frisky on the tennis court late at night discovers they are not alone.

Music Video (HD, 5:42) – Goya “Backfire”

Art Gallery (HD, 2:48)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:13)

Summary 

The Devil’s Candy is really an okay treat. Its not bad, but its not great either. This Blu-ray comes with a pretty good picture and audio presentation and has some okay extras. Overall, no matter how much I like or didn’t like it, I can’t imagine this one being more than a curious rental for anyone who is interested in the film. Though, if you love metal and horror, maybe you have to get this.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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