Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
This is the disturbing movie that caused a ruckus at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a celluloid payback for every underage girl who’s been mistreated by an adult male. It’s Red Riding Hood in reverse, inspired by the true story of Japanese schoolgirls who baited older men over the internet and then attacked them. Hard Candy takes that premise to Los Angeles and turns the amp up to 11. Expertly crafted by Brit commercial director David Slade, Hard Candy will divide audiences with its changing perspective on the treatment of the two central leads, a feisty 14-year-old and a 32-yearold fashion photographer. When the presumed predator invites the girl back to see his Hollywood Hills home, the tables are set for an afternoon of brutality and excruciating (if you’re male) developments. The script by playwright Brian Nelson is viciously clever and confounds the audience again and again, constantly shifting our expectations of both characters. The film also comes with a warning; like many that focus on sexual violence, this one treads a very fine line between exploitation and art.