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Candy Corn (Blu-ray Review)

As has always been true here at Why So Blu, when it comes to slasher films, I’m an easy slay. Candy Corn kinda/sorta came into my radar via the online horror apparel outlet Fright Rags (Go visit their site, its BADASS). They were doing the merchandising for this film, and low and behold the owner Ben Scrivens was an executive producer on this film as well. There was one night on Twitter where I saw people discussing it, but I sort of forgot about it until it was offered to me for review. The film comes via DREAD (I think its the Dread Central film branch), who has been amassing a nice library of new indy horror films. Genre vets Tony Todd, Courtney Gaines and PJ Soles fill in some roles in the cast for director Josh Hasty. The Blu-ray for the film features plenty of bonus material and is currently able to order at online outlets including Amazon (For which we include a paid link following the review of the film and disc content).

Film

It’s Halloween weekend, and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he’s resurrected to seek revenge against those who wronged him.

A new slasher is always something I’m down for. Candy Corn unfortunately wasn’t as good as the treat with which it is named (Which, I DO like the candy, haters). But, there is some ambition on display here as well as some familiar, enjoyable faces in the cast. Unfortunately, cast we are supposed to follow and “care” about are some of the most repulsive bunch I’ve ever seen in a slasher. The girlfriend, who is supposed to be sympathetic is completely guilty by association and awful in her own right by knowing how awful her boyfriend and friends are and sticking with it 100% through it all. Our other possibly character to have some compassion for is Courtney Gaines sheriff character, but his son is the biggest shit in the whole film. So, its a bit of a tough watch.

In the other regards, the slasher monster has a nice hook to it. A mask that, with some voodoo stuff, will take its persona to whoever is wearing it. The mask is cool, but the demeanor and kills aren’t anything to wag on about. There was one early on where a backbone was ripped out, but nothing quite lived up to that and just felt like blood was all we were getting without any sort of creativity.

Now, I will give director Josh Hasty that he is quite good with mood and composing shots in the film. It does have the appearance of a much bigger production than it is. There are some nice stalks, dollies and other moments in the film that DO make it much more watchable than what I’ve sounded like. His circus scenes are some of his best work, able to use the setting and character to their fullest ability in the frame. I don’t hate this movie which it might seem I’m coming across, these were just the things on my mind to write about with it and that I was able to convey a bit more of what my thoughts were telling me.

Candy Corn is an admirable effort from a technical standpoint and a unique take on a slasher villain/monster that is to be appreciated. Ultimately it doesn’t quite work to well as a result of their own budget limitations and the lack of any sort of compelling or compassionate character to at least be drawn into this story by. Now, if you’re of the “just kill em and get it over with type” you won’t be bothered by it, but when the kills aren’t too inventive or thought out, you’re not going to be satisfied in that regard either. Its kind of an “eyes are bigger than your stomach” deal.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Candy Corn debuts on Blu-ray with a pretty rock solid image. Its pretty sharp and crisp, with easily defined details that show all over the frame. The color timing here is washed out to give a more fall appearance which is quite effective and I gotta give credit that it REALLY REALLY feels midwest despite knowing it was shot in the midwest. It has a very “shot on digital” look that lends to lighter, less natural blacks, but overall, this is above average and makes for an enjoyable looking view.

Depth:  Decent depth of field here, with an overall above average appearance. Camera movements are fluid and the character toss around quite smoothly with no motion distortions arising from sharp or rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and have the lighter grayer look to them that comes with digital filmmaking. There are some slight crushing moments intermittently, For the most part all intended detail is well represented and not consumed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are a little bit faded due to the overall color timing choice of the film. However, blood does stick out, as does the candy corn’s orange and some of the more extravagant circus colors in that setting.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little washed out and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures come through plenty clear in medium and close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio

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

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Candy Corn comes with a very solid and well balanced 5.1 mix that delivers the goods. The default volume is set plenty loud and has some nice surprises in places to deliver decent jumps. The is a loose mix with the score, effects and vocals all working together effectively and in tandem as to not step on one another’s toes.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Subwoofer kicks in pretty nice and effectively with the score ramping up intensity as well as some of the deeper action-oriented sound effects.

Surround Sound Presentation: While this is a bit front-heavy, there are some nice, well placed moments that fully utilize the rear speakers via unique sounds or assisting with the travel or ambiance in the room.  Overall, this is some solid and pretty thoughtful work given the budget.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Josh Hasty

One Piece at a Time: The Making of Josh Hasty’s Candy Corn (HD, 1:51:30) – Pretty much a production journal that is all behind the scenes footage with some asides from cast and crew. And this goes through the WHOOOOLE damn movie too.

Crowd Funding Scene with Optional Commentary (HD, 4:23) 

Interview With Josh Hasty (HD, 28:05) – The director talks his inspirations, his life, raising money for the film and provides many shooting anecdotes and insight.

30 Second TV Spot (HD, :29)

Candy Corn Official Trailer (HD, 1:36)

Dread Trailers (HD, 5:15) – They’re Inside, Artik, Harpoon and The Fare.

Summary

Candy Corn might decently satisfy that craving for those desperate to dig into a new slasher film, but may leave them still a bit hungry afterward. The disc comes with a pretty rock solid digital sourced presentation and while not a load of extras, a few very lengthy ones to give you a real nice look into its production. You may want to rent first or wait for a possible price drop before picking it up.

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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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