It is a great credit to actors Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page for making their characters into such well-rounded human beings. It’s this three-dimensionality that allows the film to surpass thriller stereotypes and provoke thought about the issues concerned. The fairly straightforward story is carried by the performances, and Page particularly shines as Hayley, given the range of emotions and scenes she carries flawlessly. This is particularly impressive considering she is still a teenager herself, and that the content of the film is both disturbing and complex.
Without giving away too much of the plot, there is some fairly harsh psychological violence, and there are several wince inducing scenes, although there is a distinct lack of explicit violence, nudity and gore. Despite this, Hard Candy is probably going to be a difficult viewing for people who don’t like horror or sadism, as all the scenes of torture and violence are possibly more extreme for being understated. Horror fans on the other hand, would do well to give it a chance, as it chills the blood without any cheap trickery or CG effects.
Ultimately, if you can deal with the subject matter, Hard Candy is tense, exciting, and delivers thrills with absolutely no dead screen time. The acting is fantastic, and script is economical and mostly believable. There are some narrative strands that could have been explained slightly better, but all in all, it is a brilliant and watchable film.
- Ivan Sadler
In this gritty psychological thriller a tenacious teen tries to trap a photographer and suspected paedophile who she has befriended online.
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