Maniacs, perverts, pedophiles – all these people naturally cause disgust. However, are they so helpless, who could become their victims? The movie “Hard Candy” shows how easily the roles can be reversed in this inhuman game.
What is the movie “Hard Candy” about?
The film tells about a man named Jeff (Patrick Wilson), who meets girls online, often underage. He works as a photographer. A 14-year-old girl named Haley (Allyn Paige) reciprocates his feelings and agrees to meet at a coffee shop. After that, they go to his house. On the wall he has pictures of various girls, mostly very young ones. Hayley picks up one of these photos and reads the caption on the back, “Janelle, March 19th.” She asks what it means, but Jeff doesn’t say anything.
She then finds vodka in his fridge and offers him a cocktail. Jeff agrees, and after tasting the cocktail that Hayley made, he passes out. When he woke up, he was already tied to a chair. Hayley starts accusing him of being a pedophile. Jeff makes excuses, saying that she herself was not opposed to meeting, but this does not convince her. She says she will expose him and starts searching his house for evidence. As it turned out, she had been looking for him for a long time through chats on the Internet in order to settle scores with him.
There is a safe in the house, but Jeff does not give the code to it. She then remembers the caption on the photo “March 19” and enters 319. Several photos and a CD emerge from the safe. The content of the photos is not clear to us, but Hayley asks the question: “Why is she wearing clothes?” Apparently, they could not find any serious evidence even in the safe. However, this particular girl has recently disappeared. Jeff admits it’s her, but offers no explanation.
After that, Jeff manages to kick Hayley so that she falls to the floor, hitting her head. At this time, he himself, tied to a chair on wheels, moves to another room, where he has a pistol on the table. He takes the gun, but Hayley is no longer where she fell. She suddenly pounces on Jeff from behind and begins to choke him with a film wrapping around his head. As Jeff passes out, Hayley begins to cry.
The next scene starts with Jeff tied to the bed with no pants on. Hayley discovers among Jeff’s notes who Janelle is – this is his current girlfriend. Hailey talks about how she’s neutering him now. Begins to communicate with Janelle ostensibly on his behalf via e-mail, trying to tell her that he is not interested in her. At the same time, he begins to talk about Jeff’s future life without genitals, apparently trying to evoke emotions in his ward. Then she allegedly does this, taking advantage of the fact that his genitals were lying on an ice bag and lost sensitivity, and goes to the bathroom.
At this time, Jeff is released and sees that everything is in place for him. He rushes into the bath, trying to attack Hayley with a scalpel. But she is already waiting for him with a stun gun. Jeff faints again. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a chair with a noose around his neck. Before that, they show how Hayley destroys the evidence, hiding the traces of her stay in the house. She then calls Janelle, posing as police lieutenant Hayley, and says that “there was an accident”, refusing to give her details. Janelle says she’ll be here soon.
Jeff then breaks free and runs after her to the roof. There he comes to some semblance and remorse. He confesses that he knows who killed the missing girl. He says that he is just a photographer and wanted to take a picture of her, that he is not a murderer. But the one who was the killer did not let him do it. She also says that she knows this second guy, and he told her before his death that the killer was Jeff.
Jeff decides to commit suicide. He himself puts a noose of tied rope around his neck and jumps from the roof. Hayley says that she promises to take care of everything. At the last moment, she says: “or not!” The film ends there.
The meaning of the film “Hard Candy”
Director David Slade does not comment on the meaning of his film. It was his creative debut in cinematography, before that he shot video clips. By genre, this is a thriller, that is, a film that should keep the viewer in suspense until the very end. There are similarities with other films here. The most characteristic – with the famous thriller “Saw”. There, the victim, caught by the protagonist, had to commit some kind of “overcoming himself” in revenge for his, from the point of view of the protagonist-criminal, sins. For example, cutting out your eyes. If she didn’t, she died.
Indeed, the film Saw also shows that both the victim and the perpetrator are far from unambiguous roles. It is entirely possible that the perpetrator may be good, but the victim despicable. In the film “Hard Candy” there is also some semblance of these feelings. On the one hand, you need to side with Hayley, because she is fighting a pedophile. On the other hand, the viewer does not have a clear certainty from the very beginning that Jeff is a pedophile. And only at the end of the film it is revealed that he was involved in such crimes. Therefore, the viewer has mixed feelings. Here I want at first, not knowing the ending, to take the side of Jeff, who always looks like a victim of some crazy girl.
The film itself is also replete with blunders and inaccuracies. The very scene that Jeff, being tied to a chair only by the torso, cannot stand up is absurd – it can be done in this position, and you can even run and walk. Therefore, the scene with the gun, where he tries to take it, lying on the bed with a chair, is also far-fetched. The scene when he is suffocated with cling film for cooking is unnatural – the film can be easily torn or bitten. In order to strangle a person like that, it is necessary that he does not resist at all. Considering that he is much taller than Hayley and can easily stand on his feet, this does not seem believable at all.
The scene with the stun gun is also not entirely clear. It is shown how an electrical discharge passes through Jeff’s body, at which time he is in the bathroom. At the same time, Hayley herself is also wet, and she, too, should be subjected to a discharge. Jeff is in the bathroom, which, according to the rules, must be grounded. According to the laws of physics, the discharge of a stun gun, when it is in water and the shocker also operates under water, should not cause significant harm to it – the effect will be much weaker than if you hit a person in an “ungrounded” environment, perhaps the person will not feel anything at all.
After a series of taser shocks, Jeff loses the ability to move on his feet, they do not work for him. In fact, such damage is unlikely. In addition, if they have come, then it should take some time to recover. At least a few days. We are also shown that after a couple of hours or even minutes, Jeff can calmly get on his feet and even run around the house.
Explanation of the ending of the film “Hard Candy”
At the end of the film, there is a suicide scene of one of its heroes, after which Hayley, the second heroine, is shown in a red hooded jacket, walking through some park. Over her shoulder she wears a bag with a wide belt. “Or not” is her phrase that makes you think. What she was talking about when she said, “I’ll take care of everything,” is also not entirely clear. Who is Hayley really? Twice she says that she is a police lieutenant, while calling her name. At the same time, her actions are contrary to the law, so this is hardly true. Perhaps she is a former police lieutenant or really wants to be one.
The ending of the film only adds some understatement and ambiguity. It is not clear whether Jeff died or managed to escape, although, according to the experience of executions of past years, with such a fall, it is almost always broken. Hailey is also a mystery. It seems that she leaves the house in some roundabout ways, trying to remain unrecognized.
Most likely, the director wanted to create some kind of general impression with the viewer with his film. His experience of working as a clip maker has an effect – there often the plot does not carry any semantic load, but is designed to create some emotional background.