ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Hard Candy (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Slade

Starring:
Patrick Wilson/Jeff
Ellen Page/Hayley Stark
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A “might be pedophile” (Wilson) and a young 14 years old girl (Page) meet online and wind up at the pedo’s pad where a deadly game of cat, mouse and cat, to back to mouse follows. Who is the villain?
THE LOWDOWN
I knew nothing about Hard Candy before checking it out and that ignorance contributed in me enjoying the flick to a higher degree I’m sure. So I will grant you the same luxury; I will play the vague card in this review. You see I do give a shite!

Hard Candy was a twisted psychological thriller that was pretty much set in one room, with two actors going at it for the length of its running time. We were first treated to a good old game of psychological warfare with both “fighters” attempting to manipulate each other in the name of having the upper hand in terms of the situation. The back and forth was compelling to say the least with the flick addressing some serious issues. Now that I think about it, this bitter ride pretty much acted like its leads when it came to us, the audience; it manipulated us, made us ask questions, lied to us constantly and messed with our emotional attachments in terms of the fighters in this ring. Yup, the old “Arrow Grey Matter” was working overtime on this one. Needless to say, that cranked my dial like nobody’s clock.

Then we had “The Scene” as I will call it. “The Scene” was a horrible act committed on one of the leads at some point during this battle of wits and brawl. Lets just say that “The Scene” was expertly staged, showing me nothing, yet suggesting so much that my imagination filled in the blanks like that…no…I mean…LIKE THAT! I was wincing, cringing and tensing up in my seat as if tortured by the angel of death. Talk about making one jerk (being me) uncomfortable! OUCH! "Jenga" on top of that artsy/polished visuals, superb performances by the two players (Ellen Page was a revelation), some riveting physical action and a knack at manipulation that rivaled my cheating ex (whore) girlfriend and you get an infectious watch; one that I couldn’t take my retinas off of.

On a negative hanging: the affair did go on for too long when taking into account the amount of susbstance at hand. I truly believe that some snip-snip (like 10-15 minutes) would made the film much stronger. Furthermore, I’m all for precautious but the character of Hayley was way too “on the ball” for her young age. I didn’t fully buy it until the second half of the flick kicked in. Lastly the ending didn’t gratify me 100%. I don’t know what I was expecting or wishing for but that wasn’t it. Something was missing.

All in all though; do yourself a favor and suck on this Hard Candy. The themes of murder, deception and pedophilia have been addressed in countless films before…but not like this. WOW!
GORE
There wasn’t much “graphic” gore in this playpen but trust me when I say this: your mind will make it happen.
ACTING
Patrick Wilson (Jeff) managed to evoke hatred and sympathy out of me throughout. Quite the feat! Good show! Ellen Page (Hayley Stark) was remarkable in communicating the many layers of her character. She’s definitely a young actress to watch for!
T & A
Nothing worth mentioning. I didn’t need the flesh coating for this one.
DIRECTING
The flick was a delight to stare at! I loved the fast motion, slow motion, blurry vision and the slow/engrossing cam movements. It often felt like an art film mixed in with MTV aesthetics. David Slade is now on my list of promising directors to keep tabs on.
SOUNDTRACK
The often techno-ish score perfectly evoked the action onscreen whereas the use of ambient/rumbling sounds was remarkable.
BOTTOM LINE
Smart, manipulative, harsh (all about “The Scene”), daring and filled with nasty surprises, Hard Candy made for a very rewarding sit down at the movies. I’m very thankful for the good genre Indies on the block now of late where it seems it’s the only place I can get my full fix. I will admit that the picture would’ve benefited from some snip down, the ending somewhat left me cold and yes the young lead did slightly stretch the line of credibility when it came to her maturity, but overall, Hard Candy was a highly challenging, courageous and stirring piece of celluloid. You should all see it…or tell me to go f*ck myself.
BULL'S EYE
HARD CANDY received both awards for Best Film and Best Script at the 2005 Sitges Film Festival

Ellen page will play Shadow Cat in X-Men 3.
Director David Slade will direct the film adaptation of the graphic novel 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles.

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8:04PM on 10/02/2006

balls!

This was a really fresh and interesting horror film, and the mean edge it has colored me surprised that it even got made. My only complaint is how they used the whole "honor student" line as a crutch (it comes up so many times I lost count) for how the girl was always five steps ahead of the game (I had a hard time buying that she could "operate"), but I went with it anyway.
This was a really fresh and interesting horror film, and the mean edge it has colored me surprised that it even got made. My only complaint is how they used the whole "honor student" line as a crutch (it comes up so many times I lost count) for how the girl was always five steps ahead of the game (I had a hard time buying that she could "operate"), but I went with it anyway.
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10:30AM on 09/28/2006

Oh my yes...

Excellent film. Hayley was very cool and I liked her from the start. Yeah she was pretty harsh but she had reason. I didn't feel any sympathy for Jeff either--only slightly during "The Scene" but it was only of the "yeah that would suck" variety. I know what Arrow meant about the ending. I wasn't quite satisfied either and I didn't know why really. Something really was missing, maybe some more info on the backstory would have satisfied. I don't know, but it was still a good movie.
Excellent film. Hayley was very cool and I liked her from the start. Yeah she was pretty harsh but she had reason. I didn't feel any sympathy for Jeff either--only slightly during "The Scene" but it was only of the "yeah that would suck" variety. I know what Arrow meant about the ending. I wasn't quite satisfied either and I didn't know why really. Something really was missing, maybe some more info on the backstory would have satisfied. I don't know, but it was still a good movie.
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+0
12:29AM on 09/23/2006
I hadn't heard much about this movie, but I am damn glad that I watched it. It's an intelligent and gripping nailbiter, and both actors are terrific, specifically Ellen Page, who absolutely floored me. That girl can give a stare, can she not? Talk about major heebeejeebies.

And I cannot forget to mention "The Scene." Holy. Shit. That's all I will say about that. That's great direction right there.

A little long in the tooth, but overall, a brilliantly executed cat-and-mouse game that will
I hadn't heard much about this movie, but I am damn glad that I watched it. It's an intelligent and gripping nailbiter, and both actors are terrific, specifically Ellen Page, who absolutely floored me. That girl can give a stare, can she not? Talk about major heebeejeebies.

And I cannot forget to mention "The Scene." Holy. Shit. That's all I will say about that. That's great direction right there.

A little long in the tooth, but overall, a brilliantly executed cat-and-mouse game that will definitely land a spot in my DVD collection.
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+0
7:37AM on 09/20/2006
Watched it last night. Definately a great movie. However, I never did feel any sympathy for the guy.
Watched it last night. Definately a great movie. However, I never did feel any sympathy for the guy.
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7:51PM on 06/28/2006
Favorite of 2006 so far.
I re-watched it, and I think it might have even broken into my top 20.
Favorite of 2006 so far.
I re-watched it, and I think it might have even broken into my top 20.
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+0
4:05PM on 11/17/2005
Sounds good I guess. Sex+kids movies mess me up, like Mysterious Skin. But I like getting messed up. Oh, and Arrow, you named the director as David Spade down in the Bulls Eye. Oh dear God, lets hope he never directs this kind of movie!
Sounds good I guess. Sex+kids movies mess me up, like Mysterious Skin. But I like getting messed up. Oh, and Arrow, you named the director as David Spade down in the Bulls Eye. Oh dear God, lets hope he never directs this kind of movie!
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