Bad Candy (2021) is Only a Semi-Sweet Halloween Anthology
Title: Bad Candy
First Non-Festival Release: September 10, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms, etc)
Director: Scott B. Hansen, Desiree Connell
Writer: Desiree Connell, Scott B. Hansen, Thacker Hoffman
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Starring: Zach Galligan, Corey Russo, Riley Sutton
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Set on Halloween night, Bad Candy is an anthology film that follows several interconnected stories in the sleepy All-American town of New Salem. A young girl who wants to go trick-or-treating uses her gift of drawing to make her wish a reality. One man spends his Halloween night attempting to hurt children with deadly candy before he meets his match in his latest visitor. Across town, a drug dealer hands out his stash before entering a creepy gas station bathroom. A woman on a late-night shift finds herself attacked by the corpses in her charge. After a long night of partying, one homeowner finds herself attacked by a violent ex. Terrible people are hunted down and given a choice to participate in a deadly game. Lastly, the history of a haunted house comes to life to get justice.
A middling Halloween anthology, Bad Candy delivers a mix of chills and eye rolls in series of solid concepts that don’t quite take off.
The film is deeply rooted in morals. Each segment tales a tale of terror designed specifically to warn viewers about the dangers of being a bad person. It gets very on-the-nose and blatant, but it doesn’t get too obnoxious. It does, however, make it very easy to see how each segment will play out ultimately. Favorites include a segment involving kidnapped people playing a deadly game and the origin story of a deadly clown. The rest of the segments are fine but could benefit from either a more fleshed out story or better technical components.
Like all anthologies, the talent wavers depending on the segment but the actors, and by extension the characters, are noticeably stronger on the kidnapping segment. Derek Russo and Kenneth Trujilo lead the pack here and give genuinely rousing performances as veterans blowing off steam. The rest of the characters throughout the film are decidedly one note. Furthermore, this segment shines in its creature effects and pacing in ways that most other segments fail to live up to seriously. Comparatively, segments stretch out a bit too long while others feel rushed with their runtime.
Bad Candy benefits from having a largely cohesive vision. The set designs are exquisite in a low budget charming manner and is where Bad Candy truly shines. They evoke a certain nostalgic feeling for Halloween while distinctly separating themselves from each other. Every slice of New Salem feels represented here which makes it a broader film than it has any right to be. The opening montage is particularly inspired and gives a promising glance at decent production values and good Halloween fun. This attention to detail in artistic design helps set the tone of Bad Candy as a darkly comic and playful film.
It’s a mixed bag as far as effects are concerned too. Some are exceptional. There are some cool creature designs and moments that almost elevate the film to the next level. These moments are counterbalanced by other moments that get downright silly, most often involving computer generated blood or fire. Clearly, Bad Candy has put in the time and energy necessary to craft its narrative. It’s noticeable that this is a labor of love even if it doesn’t quite captivate audiences the way it strives to do so.
Primarily limited by its budget, Bad Candy gets close to scratching the tiers occupied by the good and great Halloween anthologies before falling just short. Each segment lacks a certain punch thanks to either odd pacing and stiff acting. As is the case with all anthologies, some segments work more than others, but overall, it is a fine film. Nothing special, it is still worth a watch if you are looking for something new that is focused on holiday fun. Bad Candy may not be good but there are far worse horror films you can catch on Amazon Prime.
Overall Score? 5/10