If you get nothing else from this review, at least just take my word for it that you should really see the 1992 ‘Candyman’ before you see this 2021 version. I did not, and didn’t realize they were related at all only to find out that is not the case. In a lot of the interviews I found they are calling this movie a “spiritual sequel” but from what I gather about the first one, I would have cared a lot more about the characters if I had seen it. Anyway…
‘Candyman’ is a new horror film from co-writer and director Nia DaCosta about an artist (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who has lost his passion, but has begun to rediscover it via the legend of the Candyman. Jordan Peele produces ‘Candyman’ as well as being a co-writer, and you can tell. This film addresses themes such as police brutality and gentrification in a way that is similar to how issues about race were addressed in Peele’s films ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us’. I was really effected by specifically the plot points surrounding police brutality as it is something so relevant in our society now, but I also found the deeper metaphors a little bit hard to follow. Many times throughout the film I found myself thinking “I know this means something, but I can’t figure it out”, and as a viewer it made me exhausted at points. It’s extremely possible that there are some things I just won’t understand due to my white-privilage, but there are some points that just feel unfinished.
The acting in ‘Candyman’ made me forget all of that. I have been such a fan of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II since watching ‘Watchmen’ on HBO, and he is so good in this movie. Same goes for his girlfriend in the film, played by Teyonah Parris. They both have such a great chemistry that makes the story feel even more real. There are also quite a few actors from the 1992 film in this movie, which goes back to my point that you really should watch the 1992 ‘Candyman’ prior to this installment.
This film also looks amazing, and has some of the best gore I have seen in a while. Not heavy handed (bah-dum-ts), but so effective. There were some points When I found myself looking at the floor to avoid eye contact with some of the nastiness. As a ‘Saw’ fan, I love when a movie isn’t afraid to make it’s viewer uncomfortable, and this film does just that.
So, should you go see this film? Absolutely. It’s 91 minute run-time flies by and it will make you think. BUT if you do see this movie, please write a ‘Candyman Explained’ blog post so I can understand some of the deeper themes.