Jessica Biel unnerves as the titular character in this twisted tale of suburban murder.
This review of the Hulu series Candy season 1 does not contain any significant spoilers.
The true crime genre continues to wage on, battling all known fatigue and ignoring any signs of common decency. The public’s fascination with real life murders and any other ungodly act in that wheelhouse seems to know no bounds. After all, the idea of everyday people in American suburbia committing brutal acts of violence will always equally shock and captivate the general viewer. Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore’s story is one of those, a truly gripping account that you can safely file under the category of ‘stranger than fiction’. Based on this premise, Hulu have sculpted a taut, chilling five-part series to devour this May.
The five day event, which starts on Monday, May 9th and ends on Friday the 13th (of all days), recounts the horrific murder of Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey), an anxious housewife, who was slaughtered in horrifying fashion, when she was axed over forty times in 1980s Texas. This bloody affair is captured in an impressive Hitchcock-esque homage that will unsettle the most hardened horror fan. Candy does not hold back, leaning fully into those more sinister horror conventions, delivering one of the year’s most nail-biting premieres and ending with a painfully explicit portrayal of the killing itself.
Suspect number one in the Betty Gore murder case is the very definition of the Stepford wife and one of Betty’s closest friends, Candice Montgomery, who’s played by the almost unrecognisable Jessica Biel (The Sinner). Sporting an eighties perm, those iconic circular spectacles and an unceasing, creepy smile, Biel loses herself in the role. The very picture of the perfect housewife, Candy hoards many secrets in her private life that unravel over the course of the series, all hinting strongly towards cold-blooded murder. The opening episode leaves the audience desperate for a motive, with subsequent instalments painting a very clear picture of why a seemingly innocent suburban homemaker would end up brutally murdered in her own abode.
The filmmakers construct two squeaky clean, friendly families, which may appear pristine on the outside, yet are damaged and cracked within. They dig deep into these fake facades in flashbacks and then watch as the two households crumble in the present with the fallout of the murder and the ensuing trial. The courtroom scenes are just as impactful, delivering some surprising revelations and a hotly debated verdict.
The series boasts some exceptional tension, juicy drama and an unrelenting, foreboding atmosphere. This well-crafted crime drama has an exceptional on screen cast (including Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons and Raul Esparza), as well as an astute team of professionals behind the cameras too. Mad Men alumni Michael Uppendahl, Robin Veith and Jennifer Getzinger are on hand to steer the ship, along with Brand New Cherry Flavor creator Nick Antosca. You can tell the Mad Men veterans’ influence from the quaint opening credits to the period drama aesthetics. With these talented creatives involved you know you’re in safe hands.
Hulu’s Candy is a breath of fresh air in a crowded marketplace, showcasing the talents of these TV all-stars as they tackle this tantalizing narrative with experienced ease. Jessica Biel is just great as the monstrous housewife, and the scandalous story itself will lead to much debate the world over. This real-life murder mystery has to be seen to be believed.
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