CANDY CORN * USA 2019 Dir: Josh Hasty. 85 mins
Rob Zombie collaborator Josh Hasty makes his feature writing-directing debut with this latter-day slasher movie. It opens with a conventional set-up for a rampage: following the Halloween hazing tradition of messing up vulnerable kids who are “not all there”, a trio of idiotic small town teens decide to beat simple Jacob (Nate Chaney) to death at the Halloween carnival where he works. His boss performs a resurrection ritual and soon Jacob, donning a carved-pumpkin style mask, is ripping out spines and performing dental surgery on deserving locals.
Hasty apes the suburban look and title font of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN and gets P.J. Soles to phone in a cameo at the under-staffed local police department, but the movie sorely lacks atmosphere or suspense. The lethargic pacing isn’t helped by tedious, talky police procedural scenes involving Courtney Gains’ Sheriff, who doesn’t carry a gun because things like this “Just don’t happen here”. Attempts at colourful / comedic secondary characters fall flat, notably Sky Elobar’s local shopkeeper – he gets the worst of the dialogue : “There were a lot of asses last night – some of them got kicked, some of them got sticked…” Laughable attempts at bonafide drama involve endless slow-motion scenes of silent characters looking anguished and Tony Todd is wasted in yet another nothing role. The only saving grace of this genuinely boring Halloween horror is the effective tinkly synth score by Hasty and Michael Brooker.
Review by Steven West