Movie Review: Candyman

This dark new addition to the 1992 classic with the same name is nothing short of delicious.


Scout Adams, Arts Reporter

Candyman, released on Aug. 27, is a direct sequel to the original Candyman released in 1992. This movie deliberately overlooks the two sequels made in the 90s, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), and Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999). That’s for the best, because the only two films from the franchise that are worth watching are the first and last.

Candyman (2021) was directed and written by Nia Dacosta, alongside writer and producer Jordan Peele, who has previously directed Us (2019) and Get Out (2017), among other notable films. From the get-go, this movie was in good hands, and armed with a power cast and power crew, it did not disappoint.

The sequel follows the story of Anthony McCoy, a Chicago artist who discovers the urban legend revolving around Candyman, a malevolent spirit that supposedly haunts the projects of Cabrini Green.

McCoy is inspired to create art for the first time in years through everything he finds there, mostly the stories he hears from an old tenant, William Burke. In the stories, Burke recounts the tragedies of various men throughout the history of Cabrini Green and the surrounding area, which have led them, in the afterlife, to come after the living for vengeance.

McCoy takes a nosedive into his research about Candyman, and as he releases more work and learns about each tragedy, more people summon Candyman and are murdered. McCoy is seeing all of this, having survived summoning Candyman, and is slowly going insane from his discoveries into the supernatural world.

Yahya Abdul Mateen II, the actor who portrays McCoy, gives an emotional and interesting performance, putting his whole body into the acting process. There are various times throughout the film where he makes facial expressions and movements that draw the audience in with their bizarreness, and at a certain point it becomes very difficult to discern if Anthony is sane or not.

This film flips cliché tropes on their head. Creepy basements are ignored, the villain isn’t clear cut, and no Black characters are murdered by Candyman, which can’t really be said for the original. This time around, only the white people that summon Candyman are killed by him.

Men who have become Candyman throughout the years were all people with a reason to feel as though they weren’t given proper justice, whether that was because of lynchings, police shootings, or other types of violent discriminatory behavior. Death to white characters and not Black ones seems to be the creators’ intent to turn the tables on the audience, particularly the white audience, because it is a common trope that the Black character in the horror movie dies before most of the white ones.

Candyman is depicted in this movie as less of a villain and more of an anti-hero. As both a murderer and a protector, he is a conduit for the community’s anger and a way to embrace their fears for the real villains — the people in the city that are driving them out.

All in all, this film is far and away stunning, gory, and worth a watch. This movie stands on its own but continues the legacy of the original in a unique and useful way. Candyman is sweet, and a fun addition to the horror genre that is still meaningful in its violence.

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