100 Candles (2020) Review

100 CANDLES Poster

100 Candles, formerly known as The 100 Candles Game is a new anthology film from producer Nicolás Onetti who, along with his brother Luciano produced A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio.

Like that film, 100 Candles is a collection of previously filmed shorts with a newly filmed wraparound segment to hold them together. In this case, it’s “The 100 Candle Game” by Guillermo Lockhart and it involves Erica (Magui Bravi) and her friends telling ghost stories and looking in a mirror. As they get closer to the last candle, supernatural forces begin to make themselves known. Of course, stopping before the end will bring dire results.

The first story “A Little Taste” is by Victor Català. A little girl (Zoe Arnao) and a hunter (Miko Jarry) have to contend with a witch that eats children. A slight, if amusing story, it left me with a grin.

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“When Demons Die” by Daniel Rübesam introduces us to Joshua (Jonathan Ohlrogge) a young boy who isn’t allowed to leave the house because of the demons that lurk in the fields. But when his father (Crispian Belfrage, The Bounty Killer) disappears he’s left with no choice.

In Tony Morales’ segment “Black-Eyed Child” the roles are reversed and the child is the threat. One of these harbingers of death appears to a terminally ill woman, and he’s brought a friend (Diana Fernández Pérez, The Maus).

Director Nicholas Peterson continues the theme of stories involving kids with “The Visitant”. Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Stargirl) must protect her children from a demon (Doug Jones, Gehenna: Where Death Lives, Hellboy). But mommy off her meds may be the most dangerous creature of all.

“Buried Alive” from Oliver Garland involves a woman who is indeed buried alive. Unfortunately, this segment is in Spanish and for some reason, at least on the screener I saw, isn’t subtitled. So I have no idea what was going on. I would hope this is fixed before the film’s release.

“Blight” from Brian Deane is the story of an exorcism in 1950s Ireland. Friar Carey (George Blagden) is called to an island off the coast to drive a demon out of a pregnant woman. That should be an easy task for a devout man of God. But the devil has a few tricks up his sleeve and things aren’t what they seem.

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In “Drip” from Christopher West, Lianna (Wallis Barton, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) moves into a new apartment. Looking through her phone the next morning she finds a picture of herself sleeping.

And the final story is the conclusion of “The Game of 100 Candles” and the fate of the players.

As you can probably guess, the stories that make up 100 Candles are all fairly short and come with a sting in the tail. And, they’re as mixed in quality and style as they are in their subject matter. The lack of any kind of common thread in plot or style made it hard to stay immersed in the film as it never really comes together as a whole.

The wraparound started off showing promise, and has some nice makeup effects. But by the conclusion had become silly and predictable.

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Out of 100 Candles’ segments, the two best by far are “When Demons Die” which has an unexpected ending I don’t think I’ve seen before and “Blight” which features some nice effects and another nicely executed twist. “Blight” could probably be expanded to feature-length with a bit of effort.

“The Visitant” takes honourable mention with a grim tone and creepy demon. “Black-Eyed Child” has some very atmospheric camerawork and setups but there’s no real story. It’s an exercise in style over substance.

“Drip” and “A Little Taste” are more like anecdotes than stories. There’s nothing really to them, they’re just sort of there, like filler. Amusing filler in the case of “A Little Taste” but still nothing more than a tasty snack. And, as noted, “Buried Alive” wasn’t subtitled so I can’t pass judgement on it. But it is incredibly sloppy work to send out a screener with that kind of error.

Devilworks will release 100 Candles across the USA and Canada on May, 18th. You can check their Facebook page for details.

Our Score

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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