Harry Situation Reviews: Candyman (2021)
Be(e) my victim.
Candyman (2021) is a new horror slasher film serving as the direct sequel to the original 1992 film of the same name. The film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, along with Tony Todd reprising his iconic role as the titular Candyman. It was also directed by Nia DaCosta with Jordan Peele acting as the film’s co-writer and producer.
Taking place decades after the first film, long has since passed after the last of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood has been torn down. Along with it the legend of the infamous Candyman, a vengeful spirit of a hook-handed man that kills anyone that says his name five times in front of a mirror. In the present day, a visual artist named Anthony McCoy (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has a chance encounter with an old-time resident of the projects, who tells him the macabre tales of the supernatural killer. Anthony then uses this as inspiration for his paintings, unknowingly bringing back the violent legend, as this takes a toll on his sanity, leaving him to question what is real.
The original 1992 film is a classic in the horror genre. Tony Todd was amazing as the titular Candyman and, in my opinion, it is one of the best adapted works of horror writer Clive Barker, whom you may recognize as the mastermind behind Hellraiser. I was extremely excited to see this movie. It’s like I’ve waited a whole year to see it. I wonder what sort of global event that could have caused me to wait so long. Any who, Candyman is finally here and it’s pretty good.
First positive goes to the acting. The acting in this movie is superb. Both Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris do an amazing job. These two have great chemistry together. Yahya was great as a man on the verge of madness as he dives deeper into the Candyman story and Teyonah was outstanding as his girlfriend who is witnessing his sanity and is in utter disbelief. Props to both of them.
The directing was also great. Nia DaCosta has filmed some great camera angles and locational shots of the Chicago area (or what looks like Chicago), and there’s a ton of emphasis and focusing on mirrors, which makes sense given the context of the movie. The point is she did a great job directing this movie. I hear she’s directing a sequel to Captain Marvel and I’m looking forward to it.
But what I really liked about this movie was the expansion on the mythos of Candyman. Candyman, himself, is more than just a vengeful spirit. He’s become of a symbol of racial injustice since the character’s backstory was that he was killed by a racist mob. And we learn that history repeats itself when another man was wrongfully convicted and killed by racists.
The film also led me to suspect that Candyman is actually a tulpa, a Tibetan spirit that manifests from consciusness, and with the revelation that there was more than one Candyman with similar backstories kinda supports this idea. Honestly, I buy it.
Also, gotta love the kills in this movie. For a slasher film you gotta get creative with your kills and this one delivers in spades.
But this led me to one of the big issues I had was, well, Candyman himself. There’s seems to be a lack of him in this movie, mainly Tony Todd. Because of the added Candyman mythos (minor spoiler) what we get isn’t Daniel Robitaille, but a different Candyman (sorta) in the likes of Sherman Fields (played by Michael Hargrove). Oh don’t worry, Tony Todd is in this movie and he does reprise as Candyman but not in a way you’d expect. Now don’t get me wrong, Hargrove does a good job as this variant of Candyman but he wasn’t Candyman. He was Candyposer. I didn’t come to see this movie to see Candyposer. I came to see Tony Todd be Candyman again, which I did... but still.
The other big issue I had was the lack of subtlety in this movie, which is a shame given who one of the writers is in fact Jordan Peele. What’s the message? Black people are (most of the time) victims of an unjust system, which, to be fair, is true. But the film beats you over the head with it so much. Jordan Peele has dealt with a similar message back with Get Out but that was done very subtle. Any subtlety in this film is absent. Then again, maybe since there is injustice in the world (especially the United States) that it needs this kind of message beaten over our heads. Or maybe that’s not real message of this movie. I don’t know. I’m just a dumb white guy who doesn’t know shit.
Overall, Candyman is a solid sequel to the original. It’s definitely not as good as the original but it stands on its own, which is good enough for me. As far as I know it’s leagues better than the other two sequels that came out before this one. Give it a watch some time. It is a sweet for the sweet.
-Expansion on Candyman myth
-Lack of Candyman (and Tony Todd)
-Beaten over the brow message
Final Grade: B (he-he, get it)
So those are my thoughts on Candyman (2021). Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? Are you a fan of the original Candyman? What were your thoughts on that? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
Candyman: “Tell everyone.”