Candy Corn, written and directed by Josh Hasty, is a new horror movie showing an obvious admiration for the classics of the genre. However, Hasty unfortunately seems to get too caught up in paying homage to the greats, preventing his film from ever standing on its own.
The movie follows a group of bullies who, after taking a hazing too far, are haunted by the person they wronged. Though there are some interesting ideas in the script, there are too many things happening at the same time for it to be particularly effective. The core plot of the film is a serial killer movie, but there is also a supernatural element in play that never really pays off. In many ways, this movie could have been much better if it just had a bit more focus.
The character development in the film also could have been much better. All of the characters are archetypal, and as such, it is hard to identify with them. Additionally, since the victims of the brutal and horrific murders that are taking place were established early on to be mostly cruel people, they aren’t particularly likable or sympathetic. Since the audience doesn’t connect with the characters, the story doesn’t resonate as it should.
Furthermore, the movie is largely lacking in suspense. For a film that obviously has so much love for the classics of the genre, Candy Corn is far too reliant on gore to be effective. The best slasher movie are those which target the internal fears of the audience, and this film fails to do that. Instead, the audience shown some gnarly images and Hasty hopes that will be enough to be scary.
Granted, the practical effects in the movie are quite good, which is why it is so disappointing that the script isn’t better. The make-up for the characters is excellent, creating an antagonist that looks pretty disturbing, even if the film fails to legitimize those looks with a solid foundation. The production design is very good too, creating a unique and interesting world within the movie.
Hasty was able to assemble a surprisingly good ensemble, including cult film actors such as Tony Todd (Candyman) and Sky Elobar (The Greasy Strangler), perhaps in the hope that this movie will garner a cult following of its own, but sadly, they are put to waste in roles that don’t feel particularly important. Todd’s role in particular is bafflingly insignificant, having very little reason for him to be there other than to attach a recognizable name to the product.
That said, perhaps the most frustrating thing about the movie is its cinematography. The camerawork in the film is shaky and uneven, which is massively disappointing given the excellent horror visuals which were crafted for it. It almost seems like Hasty had a great team behind him, but his vision is lacking, something which is all too common in movies like this.
For the most part, Candy Corn is a disappointment. Although there are some good visuals and interesting ideas in play, those are not taken advantage of by Hasty, whose vision needed more streamlining to be effective. Perhaps with more planning, his next film can be more enjoyable.
Candy Corn is now on VOD and DVD.