DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...


Monday, June 19, 2006

Film Review: Hard Candy

Hard Candy (18)
Dir. David Slade

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare to be shocked, provoked and toyed with by Hayley, the smartest, most unhinged 14-year-old you’re ever likely to meet. Sure she looks cute, like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth but there is pure ice in her eyes and revenge on her mind…The other player in this hardcore, twist-packed examination of crime and punishment is Jeff. Jeff’s a charming, successful 32 year old guy, by day he photographs models for fashion magazines but by night he just might be a sick paedophile killer of young girls. Hard Candy is the white knuckle tale of what happens when Jeff picks up Hayley after flirting with her online… Is he just pathetically lonely? Is she just dangerously naive? Not a chance. Hard Candy is a bold and refreshing twist on the predator / victim scenario and the dangers of internet grooming. David ‘MTV Video Director’ Slade’s big screen debut is a disturbing fast train to a place where anything can happen and it hits like a punch to the face. The skill of the tale is that it keeps you off balance right from the icky start where we get to monitor their inappropriate chatroom courtship. But just who is courting who and why? Nothing is quite as it first seems and like the best horror thrillers Hard Candy keeps you guessing right up until the end,
Ellen Page who plays Haley delivers a stunning powerhouse performance and shows that she’s destined for greatness – you might have also spotted her last month in Xmen: The Last Stand as Shadow Cat. Anyway, here she is Hannibal Lecter in a mini skirt on a mission to ‘out’ Jeff (Patrick Wilson) as a criminal and potentially ensure that he never transgresses again.
Be advised that this is not a simple cat and mouse game but a fully fledged scalpel wielding exposition backed up with graphic violence – most of it directed towards Jeff’s nether regions. If you’re a medical student you might even want to take notes as young Haley reaches the parts that most horror films dare not reach. Unless you’re a bloke of course in which case you’ll be too busy sweating, crossing your legs and squirming in your seat.
It’s rare to see a film quite so highly relevant in today’s climate of abuse of lenient sentencing outrages… Controversial and expertly scripted, Hard Candy should be seen by anyone who has erm… the ‘balls’.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action ööö – Crunching, chopping etc
Laughs öö – Couple of smart jokes - very dark
Horror öööö – Add an extra star if you have nuts
Babes ööö – Page is jailbait alright - but jail would be preferable than what she has in mind!

Overall öööö (A must see thriller)

"now Jeff... what other parts do you want me to chop off?"

Additional info: David Slade's next film is going to be 30 Days of Night, one of the best ever graphic novels (by the twisted genius who is Steve Niles). The plot is about a town where it gets dark for over a month - the perfect place you might think for a gathering of sunlight adverse vampires... and you'd be right! V. excited about this one...

Earlier post about Hard Candy:
Sugar We're Going Down


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