Hard Candy certainly won’t be for everyone. Directed by David Slade and written by Brian Nelson, Hard Candy delves into a difficult subject and sprinkles it with Hollywood.
Starting with smarter than your average teen, Hayley Stark (Ellen Page- Juno, Inception) who meets much older photographer Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson- The Conjuring, Insidious), in an internet chat-room. A face-to-face meeting is arranged at the local coffee shop in which starts off innocently enough, with a bit of cheeky flirting back and forth, before deciding that they should drive to Jeff’s place and get to know each other a little better.
Knowing Hayley is only 14 years old and Jeff is 32 you feel gripped in the situation. You desperately do not want Hayley to get in Jeff’s car and drive off with him but once at Jeff’s place, and as the movie quickly progresses, it becomes abundantly clear that Haley is the one in control, and has been all the whole time.
Though nothing truly graphic is ever shown, it quickly jumps into action and Hard Candy does a good job of building and maintaining tension throughout the film. I was pleasantly surprised how things get going right from the beginning.
Haley is a smart and slightly psychotic young girl which as we delve deeper and deeper into the film, begin to feel that maybe Jeff isn’t as terrible as he seems and that maybe he was setup somehow. Is Jeff really a pedophile? Is Haley really just an innocent teenage vigilante? Time and time again the tables get turned, and the viewer is constantly left wondering which of these two they should be hoping comes out on top.
The acting and script for Hard Candy are pretty spectacular. Young Ellen Page was really amazing and her intensity is creepy and effective. Patrick Wilson as Jeff is equally impressive and I felt equally repulsed and worried for him as the minutes ticked by.
You’ll have to find for yourself how it ends but regardless of minor flaws, Hard Candy is still an extremely well-made film that I definitely recommend for drama and thriller fans.
WICKED RATING: 7/10 [usr 7]
Title: Hard Candy
Director(s): David Slade
Writer(s): Brian Nelson
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh
Studio/ Production Co: Vulcan Productions, Launchpad Productions
Budget: $950,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller