The Devil’s Candy

Australian writer-director Sean Byrne’s debut feature, The Loved Ones (2009), proved one of the better horror films of the last 20 years. While his sophomore outing, The Devil’s Candy, may lack the visceral energy of the first film, what defines the auteur’s development here are better written characters, an unequaled eye for the terrifying and a patience for building his plot from the slow burn to its chaotic climax. The Devil’s Candy works as a traditional haunted-house tale with some twists. Ethan Embry and Shiri Appleby play the young couple who move with their teenage daughter into a ranch house with a dark legacy. Embry’s character appears to be a retired heavy metal musician now struggling as a (literally) tortured painter. Once having moved into the farmhouse, Embry’s broad, hellish strokes are inspired and reflect the suffering and victims of a psychopath closing in on the family’s farmhouse. Byrne’s films are perfect Saturday night cult fare, yet it won’t be a surprise when he graduates from genre thrills to blockbuster cinema.