Dir. Nia DaCosta
Reviewer. Ben Anderson
CANDYMAN is an icon of horror but unlike Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Pinhead, there's much more beyond the merciless mayhem these slashers have that makes CANDYMAN such a highly regarded film, not just for horror, but for all of cinema. The racially charged reasoning for the antogonist is split out and is a travesty for his being now, many decades beyond his death. Fortunately, tied by bonds of love and vengeance, the CANDYMAN is not forgotten and say his name five times and and he will return to remind you of his taste for blood.
22 years after the last film and almost 30 years since the 1992 original, Jordan Peele (GET OUT) and Nia DaCosta bring the screen icon back to life with the same vigour and reminder of why he's still needed.
Moving into a gentrified area of Chicago, the remains of an old tower block hide against the now beautiful looking Cabrini, artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) discover the true story behind a childish myth of the Candyman. Anthony uses this new found truth to inspire his art unknowningly opening a return to the madness bought on by the tragic soul.
DaCosta's take is no less tragic but moves the focus from the past to the present with images of police brutality and Anthony's works reflecting the here and now as opposed to the oppression of history. This is not the charismatic love story of the 1992 original but a modern reimagining for a time when the world needs an icon.
Here we have plenty of bloodshed and deaths in a more merciless manner than any of the previous entries. This film is more artistic with it's scenes of death and a standout moment lies when in a scene where the make up looking like a bee hive slowly spreads over the main character sending shivers through audiences. The cinematography is more stark here with the light of day taking more screentime than the darkness so often associated with horror, it's clearly a film made for today's audiences and the budget increase serves it well if distancing itself away from the straight-to-video sequels of the series. Whether this will survive the legacy it's incarnation left behind will only be known over time however for the summer of 2021, there couldn't be a better time for the honey monster to return.
Both Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris hold their own, Colman Domingo makes a superb addition to the cast and really adds a lot to the film as well as a well publicised return of Tony Todd in a non-specific role really adding a lot to the allure of CANDYMAN and we can comfortably say it delivers. As Candyman himself would approve, it's deliciously sweet and craves to be seen.
And as for the continuity of this version of CANDYMAN lies against the original, well... you'll just have to call his name three times and figure it out.