Boy howdy do I love Halloween. I also love anthology films. For some reason anthologies and Halloween seem to go hand in hand lately. I kinda dig that. Alas, with the release of TRICK ‘R’ TREAT it set the bar for Halloween Anthos pretty high and it changed the game. I give complete credit and props to those out there trying to step up though and putting their own spins on the subgenre out there but there has to be one that can capture the holiday, the fun, the freak-outs, and the horror as well as T’R’T did.
WE HAVE A NEW CHALLENGER
BAD CANDY, enter the ring.
BAD CANDY is an anthology that uses the set-up of a DJ and his producer as they put on their annual Halloween show. This serves as the connective tissue between stories, as they weave their terror tales about the stories of the small town, they reside in. We are given stories of terrible kids that ruin the holiday for others. There is a story of a necrophile that gets a surprise. There’s a tale of ghost hunters. There’s a tale of supernatural vengeance. As the night plays out though we start to realize that many of these stories interconnect and may even lead right back to the DJs themselves.
I will absolutely give credit for making a movie with spirit and passion. There are a lot of by the number movies out there, especially on the DIY direct to video market so it’s nice to see that they must have had a good time making this film. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the movie is good. The stories are mediocre, the connective tissue is tenuous at best, and even with as much fun as they have, the ‘cheapness’ of a lot of it shows through. The thing is, low budget movies can work, so it’s not about the budget, it’s what you do with it. The last thing you should ever do is resort to digital effects because they RARELY come off the way you see them in your head and you end up having to settle. I say this with NO shade but as a movie geek that has seen this play out a LOT. Budgets are boxes that you can stretch but which you have to live within and have to find ways to exploit. A movie made for no money can still look better than a movie made for bags of cash if the people know how to shoot and can shoot around their budget.
This isn’t a poorly made film, don’t get me wrong. The actors are game and do a good job. The sets are pretty fun. The ideas are solid. It’s the stories themselves that come off as weak and not given enough meat for their bones. One story in particular goes so far out of its way to lean into the lascivious that it derails the movie. A lot can be said for restraint and the need to show a full on necrophile scene seems a bit much if it doesn’t lend to the story. That is sort of where we are here though. There’re great bones, and some interesting ideas, but not enough work is done to smooth out the rough edges and to make you care about anyone in the film. The problem too is that there are too many echoes of TRICK ‘R’ TREAT. I get that there are points where they will be similar – same types of film and same holiday – but some of the stories even inch towards T’R’T. Yikes.
I don’t want to bag on this too much because heck, I haven’t made a feature, have I, so who am I?
Still though, there’s an overall ‘cheapness’ that permeates the film and really downgrades it. There are too many echoes of other films here – even the DJs thing is similar to ANOHTER Halloween horror antho – that keep the film from finding its own identity. The atmosphere is great (though, what’s up with these movie towns that basically stop everything to celebrate the holiday? I wanna move THERE!), the acting is decent, but the stories just don’t keep you invested at all and don’t really tie together well.
Overall, it’s a really disappointing film that just won’t stay in my mind longer than today.
1.5 out of 5
I write books, go get one and make fun of MY writing!