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The devil’s candy (Michael Yezerski – 2015)

Film scores

The devil’s candy (Michael Yezerski – 2015)

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In THE DEVIL’S CANDY Jesse, a struggling artist, moves with his wife and daughter into their dream house in rural Texas, the price driven down by the property’s dark past. Their lives soon begin to unravel as the demonic forces lurking in the house take hold of the young family. Jesse’s paintings take a satanic turn while the family is plagued by Ray, the deranged son of the former owners. Soon it becomes clear that Jesse and Ray are both being influenced by the same dark forces and that Jesse and his family aren’t safe from its former inhabitant or indeed from the devil himself. The score was written by Michael Yezerski.

Alright, a heavy metal horror score, this should be good. It needs to be good because with the abundance of horror movies and scores this year fatigue could be settling in if there isn’t something new or different in the music; the thundering opening electric guitar reef from “The flying V” counts as that. A story like “The devil’s candy” relies the most on the atmosphere so the composer eases us into the mysterious and menacing with dark and very quiet textural cues that build up the tension. There are times when the music seems too quiet which makes it lose the scary factor. “The swing” is tense with the constant heartbeat in the background but for the first half it doesn’t do much before the beating gets louder and strange noises are starting to be heard. It’s the same thing with “Murder paint”; in the beginning I can barely hear anything and I want to because I’m sure there are some tortured strings in there.

I like what the composer does with the wood sounds and home appliances like sounds because they create a very uncomfortable atmosphere. I also like it when I can actually hear the strings being tortured because the sound is very efficient and scary. Michael Yezerski really laid it on to those strings. I don’t like that those moments are too sparse and the space between them plays more like white noise. When he does let the music get loud we get cues like “The churge” which can hardly be called music but is scary as hell.

I think I understand why the composer has so much quiet texture in this score; it makes all the other sounds scarier, it gives them a place to strive on. Scary things come out of the silence but I’m not sure I want to have that silence on the album; I imagine it, I know it, it’s the silence around me and it would have been enough to provide just the scares. I understand that it also works like a mist that covers everything and confusion ads to terror but still it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable standalone listen.

While the horror moments where interesting, the score fizzled a bit because of just too much silence. I liked the tortured strings, they are always nice to hear on a horror score and Michael Yezerski manoeuvred them very efficiently. Every time the score got a bit louder I liked what I heard to it’s a shame because the standalone listening experience could have been better.

Cue rating: 77 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 5 / 38

Album excellence: 14%

Highlights:
The Flying V (feat. Vivek Maddala)
Zoe Unbound
The Circle

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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