Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Scarefest 2013 - Hard Candy

Just as a head's up, there are major spoilers ahead.  Read no further if you want to watch a twisted, very flawed, psychological twister from eight years ago.  What, exactly, is the limit on spoilers?  If I say that Jack dies in 'Lost' would that still be considered a spoiler?

Anyway....

Today's Movie:  Hard Candy (2005) viewed on FearNet Channel

Starring:  Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson

Plot:  Creepy older dude, Patrick Wilson, convinces a 14 year old to meet him at a coffee shop while they are chatting on the internet.  They do the older guy/REALLY young girl flirtation that makes viewers uncomfortable.  Everything seems to be heading towards disaster for this young, cute, naive girl...

...until Wilson suddenly passes out and comes to with Page having tied him to a chair.  She has turned the tables and spends the rest of the film searching for his child porn stash, torturing him and castrating him on the kitchen table.  I spent much of this movie with my hands over my genitals and/or legs crossed. 

Gore Factor:  Limited, although the castration scene is brutal even if there isn't overt blood and guts.  We glimpse what's going on through the blurry monitors Page sets up so Wilson can witness his own undoing. 

Nude Factor:  None, which is odd considering what occurs.

Scare Factor:  Low.  There aren't overt frights here.  This is more a psychological cat and mouse game between Page and Wilson.

Review:  This one didn't so much as creep me out as make me very uncomfortable.  There are severely squeamish moments throughout due to Page and Wilson acting the shit out of this. Even the suggestive conversations between the two made me hesitant. 

That said, this movie cops out BIG TIME when everything is revealed.  Most importantly it turns out the entire castration was orchestrated and she never went through with it.  It was all a ruse.  Secondly, Page is about 80 pounds soaking wet with her pockets full of lead.  How she was strong enough to move Wilson around and tie him up so tightly that he can't break free is a huge mystery. 

Finally, her end game is so convoluted and overly complex I have to wonder why she didn't just kill the guy and be done with it.  Instead she risks being found out and gets other people involved when it isn't necessary.  Near the climax she has Wilson hung up on a chair with a noose around his neck.  Instead of knocking the chair out from under him, he manages to break free after she spends 15 minutes talking to him and stalk her throughout the house.  They both wind up on the roof where she has another noose waiting for him so he can hang himself.  If she wanted it to be a suicide, just knock the chair out, ya dummy.  Why risk having him kill you for no reason?

Bottom Line:  Great acting undermined by a script that should have stopped itself before getting carried away.  If this were an 85 minute movie and ended where it should have, I would still be unnerved by it.  Instead it degenerates into another potboiler that makes no sense. 

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