hard candy

hayley stark: you really just don't look like kind of guy who needs to meet girls over the internet.
jeff kohlver: well, i think it's better to meet people online first, sometimes. you get to know what they're like inside. when you work as a photographer you find out real quick peoples faces lie.
hayley stark: does my face lie?

- hard candy

hard candy is probably one of the most disturbing movies to come around in a long time. the basic premise is that a 14 year old girl, hayley, meets a man named jeff whom she met online in an internet chatroom. they meet at a coffee shop and they go over to his place, where she actually ends up drugging him and tying him down. she then methodically threatens to castrate him. it turns out that she is there to teach him a lesson for his predatory ways.

while watching the film, i couldn't help but feel how effective the movie was. you get genuine creeps right from the start. but at the same time, i don't know if it is the writing itself that makes the movie so effective, if it's the controversial subject matter, or the really great acting. it's probably a bit of everything.

still, this blog is about writing, so i'll stick to the writing, which is solid, but i highly doubt a 14 year old girl would be able to do some of the things she does in the film. i'm not disputing some of the sick things this girl does, because i don't put it past people to do such things, and every few months or so you hear of something in the news involving terrible things people do to other people. what i'm disputing is some of the physical things she does. let's just say i find it hard to believe a 14 year old girl who is barely 90 pounds soaking wet can suspend a grown man.

the story remains tight, sticking to jeff's home, but about two-thirds the way through, it loses all suspense and creepiness by getting into some absurd elements, physically, such as the part i just mentioned. the writing is still effective in that pretty quickly into the film you realize that you are watching two sick people on screen, and you actually start to feel bad for jeff. you don't know if he's a murderer or a pedaphile, but you get the feeling he is at the very least, a sick creep. but the fact that you actually start to feel bad for the guy is probably more of a testament to how horrible this 14 year old girl is. let me make this clear: jeff is not a good guy, but neither is hayley a good girl. there really is no one to root for in this film.

the film is definitely against pedophilia. but what it says about sadistic torture is another thing. it's about vengeance for sure, and i suppose there have been plenty of films about men doing unspeakable things to women, so the fact that the tables are turned shouldn't come as a surprise. in the end the film makes a point about pedophilia, and it makes a point about what type of punishment these monsters should have to endure.

hard candy is well written. it just gets a little absurd and loses a bit of its own credibility near the end.

here is the trailer: