Hard Candy

It seems like ages since I last went to the cinema (blummin’ flip it was). There’s been tons of stuff I’ve wanted to catch (and lots I don’t, really, but find myself strangely drawn to) but other commitments and sheer laziness have conspired to keep me away. I really must rectify this.

So, in an effort to do so, first up is Hard Candy. This first full length film from (Warp video) director David Slade is for some strange reasons being referred to as a slasher movie with a twist. Surely that would mean there was a hidden psycho and young folks going for ill-advised late night skinny dips? Or have I lost grip of an entire genre? Instead what we have is fairly taut two hander. I believe ‘psychological’ is the term they used to use for this kind of thing. Story: 30-something Jeff has met 14 year old Hayley online. They agree to meet, he tempts her back to his flat with promises of Goldfrapp bootlegs. (Run Hayley! Run!!) The crux of all this being is he/isn’t he a paedophile? Hayley reckons so. Back at the flat, she spikes his drink and he awakes to find himself tied to a chair…

The opening scenes of this when they meet in a coffee house are seriously disturbing. I’ve not felt my flesh crawl like that in some time. This is not just a ‘oh the subject matter’ response, there’s something seriously skewy going on there. Really, really tense. Hitchcock would be proud.

And, then they get back to the flat and the tension sorta dissipates. I think this is because we’re on slightly more familiar ground. (Although my companion at this reckons it’s because Jeff takes off his creepy paedo specs.) Although the tensions gone, the movie does still keep a strong sense of claustrophobia throughout. And, there’s a nice, if inexplicable and unnecessary, use of colour, no doubt harking to Slade’s promo making days. But, it never really regains the tension of those opening scenes.

Apparently, there’s a bit in here that’ll have all men crossing their legs. I’m not really sure which particular bit is being referred to, but mainly because there’s a couple of candidates. And, I did find myself sniggering throughout at what could be possibly some of the blackest comedy around. Although that might just be me.

As with a lot of high concept stuff the ending feels trite, rushed and really kinda half-baked. And, to a certain extent it kida stops mattering if he is/isn’t.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

05 July 2006 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Film

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