Halloween Marathon: Hard Candy (2005)

Hard Candy is one of those thriller flicks that I’ve been meaning to watch.  I was going to a few weeks ago on Netflix and then there were sound problems that never got resolved (I checked back a few times).  So, after my review on The Loved Ones (click HERE if you haven’t read it) invoked this huge comment from Gary at With a Friend Like Gary, he told me that one that is done a whole lot better is Hard Candy.  With that said, I ran out and found a copy of it over the weekend and finally popped it in my laptop the night before and finished it yesterday evening.  Lets check it out!

hard candy posterDirector: David Slade

Cast: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh

After weeks of chat, a 14 year old teenager Hayley (Ellen Page) agrees to meet Jeff Patrick Wilson), a photographer in his 30s for coffee.  Coffee turns into a visit to Jeff’s place which spirals out of control.  Soon, Hayley is in control of the situation as tries to make Jeff admit to her suspicions of him being a pedophile and connected to the recent disappearance of a young girl with in her own way.

**I’m not sure how many people have seen this even though its been released since 2005. However, just in case, I tried to keep the synopsis as spoiler free as possible.  I don’t know how to do better than that.  However, if you do intend to see this, I suggest you just skip the reviews and watch it with a clear mind.  You’ll enjoy it even more, I promise! Plus, its a spoiler alert in case my write up actually reveals more than you want to know.**

Hard Candy

Hard Candy is one of those psychological thrillers that makes the audience finish and still be thinking and it just lingers for a while in our thoughts.  It soaks in a little and then I just went WOW! Its a controversial movie but thats also what makes it thought provoking.  I don’t do it often, but I turned on the special features and started listening to the mindset behind the writer, producer and director.  Hard Candy is engrossing and at various parts, hits a disturbing messed up level but in this quiet crazy way.

hard candy ellen page 2

There is just so much great to talk about in this movie.  The cast was perfect.  I personally love Ellen Page a lot.  I loved her as Juno and after seeing this, I’m convinced that she can do any role.  Hayley is the character that subconsciously and eventually consciously controls the situation. As much as the dialogue was very well-written, it was enhanced by the close up shots that brought out their emotions during silence.  They acted with their body language and emoted with their eyes.  The tone of the voice depending on the context and it was a lot of between the lines even as Hayley was talking to Jeff.

hard candy patrick wilson

Now, talking about Patrick Wilson as Jeff, is actually pretty impressive.  I’m sure if I saw it in 2005 when his only previous role was Phantom of the Opera as the dull and boring Raoul, this would’ve been even more impressive.  Jeff is also a really tough role to play because as much as the roles seem clear between Hayley and Jeff, there are moments where they aren’t and thats when Patrick Wilson has to do a Jeff that at times, the audience will sympathize for him but at other times, wonder if there is that possibility that he is a child predator.

hard candy ellen patrick

Aside from amazing performances, I’d have to say that I really liked the use of silence and sound. Its the little details that the director paid attention to that brings out the suspense even more.  The colors and lighting that they use also creates a good atmosphere.  There was a really good balance in everything.  However, there was one thing that bothered me a little in the beginning and that was the camera shots.  I understood eventually it was probably to enhance the feeling of chaos as to move it uncontrollably at times when there was conflict but the first time that happened, it was a bit dizzy to look at.

I can talk all day about how great the movie is but if you haven’t seen it, its really awesome! Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson are amazing as the lead characters.  The story is well-written and the dialogue draws you in.  The suspense grows as you watch every minute as you start wondering who to trust, if this is right or wrong, and at times, it hits the mentally disturbing part.  Its a thought provoking thriller and you’ll probably spend some time digesting the content as I am while I’m writing this up.  Still, Hard Candy is an amazing movie and I urge each of you to watch it if you haven’t already.

I’d also like to send out a huge thanks to Gary for giving me the final push to see Hard Candy! Head on over to check out his blog.  I put the link on the top with his name 🙂

20 thoughts on “Halloween Marathon: Hard Candy (2005)

    • The talking is what’s intriguing b/c the talking is how they are trying to persuade one another to bend to the others will. Their words are their weapons. If Jeff can say the right thing he feels she will set him free – where as with Haley if she says the right thing she thinks she can get a confession from Jeff. But who is right, and who is wrong? Who is the real villain? There’s a strong mystery throughout the entire film, and its that mystery that makes the story so fascinating. There’s even mystery that lingers after the film is over. Who is Haley? Where did she come from? Some have even said that Haley doesn’t exist and is merely Jeff’s guilty conscience.


  1. Very messed up in many ways, but also very thoughtful as well. It’s just that, by the end, you’ll still be scratching your head as to who it was that you were supposed to care for, if anybody at all. Good review Kim.


  2. Kim, I’m glad you liked it.

    My next recommendation for you is “The Hidden Face” which is a spanish mystery/thriller/horror/romance film. But DO NOT watch the trailer b/c the trailer reveals the big twist. This film has one of the strongest twists I’ve ever seen, and the twist is revealed midway thru the story opposed to the end. Trust me, you need to watch “The Hidden Face”.

    Thanks for the mention. 🙂


      • I will tell you this, it is extremely scary – but not in the way you think. It’s more of a mystery than a horror. Once the twist kicks in you will know what I mean. You can proceed without hesitation; it’s not a film that’s going to scar you, or anything. I promise. 🙂


      • So you’re running a Halloween Marathon and you’re a big scaredy cat? 🙂 It’s okay. I never recommend horror films to those who are put-off by horror. I assure you “The Hidden Face” is fine. “Halloween” is much gorier and scarier in a horror sense. “The Hidden Face” is a thriller. I don’t even think there’s any gore. You don’t even need to work up any courage. It’s not a hard movie to watch, so you can drop your guard. I’m not sure about Canada netflix, but it’s available on US netflix streaming; if you don’t get it there you can rent on Amazon for $3.99 (US). I think buying a physical copy will prove to be a bit expensive as it’s a lower budget film with low manufacturing. Either way you should rent it ASAP and post an entry by the end of your October Marathon. I guarantee you will like it, and have never seen anything like it before. 🙂


      • Last year’s Halloween Marathon was pretty intense by the last week (I measure that by the number of sleepless nights that follow) I’m hoping to get that together next week with more ghost/spirit movies. Those are usually the ones that get to me. Its the whole Chinese beliefs and superstitions…haha!

        I’ll try my best to add in The Hidden Face. I think its on my tablet video store app but I’m just not a huge fan of watching movies on a 10 inch tablet….


      • I understand. The Hidden Face won’t give you any sleepless nights. I promise. 🙂 You don’t have a regular computer you can stream movies on?


  3. Pingback: Hard Candy (2005) | Tim Neath - Visual Artist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.