Synopsis – A sequel to the horror film Candyman (1992) that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighbourhood where the legend began – Candyman.
Director – Nia DaCosta
Released – 2021
For fans of – The Invisible Man, Relic, The Wind
As a fan of the 1992 original (not so much the sequels), I was excited when it was announced that Jordan Peele was giving us another addition to the Candyman franchise and even the fact that he was handing over direction to rookie director Nia DaCosta make me worry too much. Sadly, however, my initial excitement was dented when the reviews started surfacing.
Not because of those that complained that the film was “too woke”, after all, Candyman is a black man born in the late 1800s who gets lynched for daring to fall in love with a white woman, the source material lends itself perfectly to being anti-gentrification, anti-law & order and anti-racial segregation. No the reviews that worried me, were the ones that reported Candyman just wasn’t scary. One thing every good horror film should be.
Now, I would love to report that these reviews were wrong and I spent the entire runtime sitting on the edge of my seat, but, unfortunately, there is some truth to what they report. Too often Candyman gets caught up in its own self-importance, unable to decide which social justice issue it most wants to promote, the movie jumps all over the place, badly affecting the pacing and any tension you might have felt.
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Another element that affected the quality was DaCosta’s lack of experience, it’s clear that she will have a good career as a filmmaker, yet this felt a step too far too soon. Too often the murders took place off-screen or were over too quickly. While the school bathroom scene felt shoehorned in to provide the trailers something to show and the sequence at the end involving the police felt tacked on due to the issues facing America at the time of development.
That all said, Candyman does deserve some praise, especially for the way it connects to and builds on the characters/plot points started in the original. Not only this, it was nice to see Peele and DaCosta, develop the character of Candyman into something other than a black Bloody Mary with a sad backstory. The acting was solid across the board, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II especially. And John Gulesertain also deserves credit for his skilful cinematography.
In the end, fans of US and Get Out will likely enjoy this film and so will anyone who enjoyed the original movie though like me they felt the character of Daniel Robitaille (Candyman) was left a little underdeveloped. Those of you looking for an out-and-out slasher filled with blood and gore are likely to be less entertained by this addition to the franchise.