Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day.
I decided to mix things up and review three films at a time. I didn’t feel like i had much to say about any of them, so i decided to lump them together.
The Devil’s Candy
Ever since I saw The Loved Ones, I’ve been eagerly anticipating what director Sean Byrne’s follow up would be. Little did I know the wait would be close to eight years. Is The Devil’s Candy worth the almost decade long wait? Eh. Not really but it is a very effective horror film with a strong emphasis on family.
Easily the best part of the film is the chemistry between the three main characters. They feel like a real family. There’s Jesse (played almost unrecognizably by Ethan Embry) who’s a painter, his wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and their daughter Zooey. (Kiara Glasco) they’ve just moved into a small town in Texas and into a house where a family was murdered. Almost immediately, Jesse starts hearing things. Faint whispers. The whispers tell him to paint something and he does. But when he’s painting, it’s as if he’s blacking out. He’s losing huge chunks of time with no recognition of the events that transpired.
And then there’s Ray Smilie (Played perfectly with his trademark amount of crazy by Pruitt Taylor Vince), who originally lived in the house when the murders occurred. He, too, hears the voices but they’re telling him to do something quite different. How these two storylines converge you can probably guess but the film isn’t setting out to break new ground through storytelling. It’s just trying to tell a fun and entertaining film and it succeeds in doing so. My only complaints would be the character of the wife, she doesn’t get much to do and the ending. I’m not 100% sure I got it. I don’t know if that’s the films fault or mine but I’m very unclear on what the final shot means in the context of the film. But neither of those complaints negatively affected the score or my enjoyment of the film but they do exist. The Devil’s Candy gets a C+
WNUF Halloween Special
This film is a bit tricky to explain properly. Imagine the film Kentucky Fried Movie but instead of a Hong Kong film, you get a live news broadcast about a alleged haunted house. The film is designed in a way that makes it clear that you’re watching somebodies old vhs tape of the recording. It starts with a news broadcast with commercials peppered in and then we finally get to go into the house.
The build up is incredible. They keep ratcheting up the tension by continuously cutting to commercial. It almost becomes a joke in the film. Or rather the punchline to a joke I don’t understand but it’s funny. I just wish they wrote a better screenplay to compliment the visual aesthetic. It’s all leading to a huge finale and it just doesn’t have it. It unfortunately, has a sophomoric ending that doesn’t really do anything different than any other ‘Found footage’ movie but if you’re in the mood for something original, WNUF Halloween Special is unlike anything else playing right now.
For its originality and clever premise but flawed execution, WNUF Halloween Special gets D+
The Big Sick
Based on the true(ish) story of how Kumail Nanjiani met his future wife, lost her, and then eventually married her. I don’t believe it’s a spoiler to say someone gets sick in the film considering the title of the film doesn’t exactly bury the lede, but In case it is, I’ll dance around the fact that someone is sick and the film deals with the aftermath and repercussions of that.
Kumail plays a fictionalized version of himself trying to juggle his stand up career, his family’s tradition of arranged marriage-which he doesn’t believe in- and his new romance to Emily (Zoe Kazan), who his parents know nothing about because she’s not Pakistani.
Since Kumail is from Pakistan, the film deals with what his family believes in and It’s refreshing to see those traditions and that culture explored on screen. Most Americans see their lives on screen day after day and it’s a nice change of pace to see something new.
Both Kumail and Emily’s parents are kinda the glue that keeps the film together. Since the movie deals with family and tradition and beliefs, the film obviously wouldn’t work without a strong supporting cast and it definitely delivers. Kumail’s parents are made up of Bollywood legends, who’s work I’m unfortunately unaware of, but they’re fantastic and Emily’s parents are played brilliantly by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. The interactions between Kumail and her parents are the best scenes in the film.
At the end of the day, it’s a by the numbers romantic comedy but if the formula works, why break it. It does enough new for the genre that I believe it might become a classic down the road
For its strong ensemble and immensely charming script, The Big Sick gets a B