Three amateur criminals plan a kidnapping of the 16 year old Candy to score diamonds from her father who works at a jewelry store. The three start out confident and sure about their plan, but as things start to mess up new plans have to be made but they also start to doubt eachothers commitments.
It took a long time for "The Candy Snatchers" to get a legit release on any format before it finally landed on this fine DVD release from Subversive Cinema. And it took me even longer to finally put the disc into the player and watch it. It's one of those exploitation films I always heard about and that's why I bought it to begin with - something to sit down with one of these days. That day happened to be a boring Sunday and I don't think I could've picked a more better exploitation to watch as it manages to be both engaging and entertaining.
A typical kidnapping story takes place in Los Angeles in the early 70's, where we have three amatuer kidnappers who are sick of the government and just want to get rich fast. They decide to kidnap the young cutie Candy because her father works at a jewelry store. We follow these three while they see the father completely ignoring their ultimatum and they start to panic. The girl of the gang is often the dominant one, and because she's a girl the other two are often quick to obey. But the large guy of the gang eventually falls for Candy. Not in a romantic way, but he sees her for what she is - a 16 year old girl who doesn't deserve to die. The criminals start to question eachother and at the same time try to get a new plan together to score the diamonds. Add to this an autistic boy who found out about the kidnapping when he was hiding the bushes when they buried her on a hill.
It's not really fair to just call "The Candy Snatchers" an exploitation film as there is very little exploitive content when you think about it. It's just a few sequences away from purely being a crime thriller and that's probably one of the things it took me a while to get. Not because I want every film to be sleazy, but with the hype this has in the scene it was easy to expect something along the lines of that. Luckily "The Candy Snatchers" is such a good movie that my expectations were easily forgotten about. It has a story that engages the audience from the beginning and we try to put pieces into the right place as much as the characters. Not to mention the story takes a lot of twists and character changes that we're never let off easy, and this is probably where it can seperate the audience. The decisions might not always be the best (I personally couldn't stand the kid) the the end result is a fine kidnapping story that is never boring. And even though it's from the early 70's and a lot of films about kidnappings have been made since, it still comes off as fresh.
What I really liked about the film was the character who has sympathy for Candy. That itself isn't original, but his character overall was the one thing I felt held it all together. At first looks you'd expect him to be the scumbag of the gang but we quickly see his human side when he starts to assure the victim that she won't be killed.
"The Candy Snatchers" takes a kidnapping story and puts a mild exploitation twist to it but not enough to push it into sleaze. It's a movie that puts the story and characters into focus and that's essentially what makes it feel like fresh movie almost 40 years later for a first-time viewer. There are a lot of twists and turns to keep us from being bored, and even though every decision isn't great I think this keeps the movie alive and assures us that we won't be bored.