Director: David Slade
Stars: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson & Sandra Oh
'Hard Candy' is a modern day retelling of the old fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, like the classic tale its based upon, 'Hard Candy' attempts to inform its audiences of stranger danger, albeit in a more sadistic and disturbing way.
Hayley Stark, is an innocent young girl who meets an older man online named Jeff Kohlver, who is a well off photographer, the two go back to his house, but Hayley is suspicious of Jeff's actions, and is determined to prove his is a pedophile, going to unthinkable measures to do so.
'Hard Candy' is not a film you enjoy, you appreciate the message, but you watch in horror as the message gets turned on its head. Its strange in the way that you aren't quite sure which character to side with, examples being with the two lead characters, While Hayley is attempting to give comeuppance to a suspected pedophile, she is also a sadistic sociopath who is obviously taking pleasure in torturing. Jeff, you dislike the man because he may or may not be a child murderer, but you also feel highly sympathetic for him as he faces every mans worst nightmare. It's a bizarre character structure, but one that is so effective and makes the film all the more enthralling.
David Slade, gives the best directorial effort of his career, which isn't hard seeing as he also directed '30 Days of Night' and a Twilight film. The direction is always compelling and always keeps the audience alert and on their toes, it moves at a rapid pace and there is never a dull moment.The camera shots and angles are usually frantic and quick, which suits the film. Brian Nelson's screenplay is also intelligent and quick witted. There is plenty of horrific moments and scenes throughout the film, especially the infamous castration one, which will truly shock and disturb you.
The two central lead performances are phenomenal, Ellen Page is really incredible, she is a frightening yet supportable 14 year old vigilante-esque character. Patrick Wilson is also really good playing a very difficult role.
'Hard Candy' is a rewarding film experience, it is not pretty, is it not fun, but it is disturbing, it is enthralling and it is very effective. Well made and superbly acted.