- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jerrett, Colman Domingo
- Written by
- Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Nia DaCosta
- Directed by
- Nia DeCosta
- Run Time 1h 31min
- Release Date August 27th, 2021
As a wee lad I had my share of urban legends that I would attempt to seek out but most of the time I’d chicken out right before I tried. While I might not have said the name Candyman in front of any mirrors, I did get Bloody Mary out a couple times before I decided against repeating it a third time. All of this came rushing back as I was preparing to see the direct follow up to Bernard Rose’s 1992 film of the same name, which also had me thinking, why anyone would do this in the first place seeing as there have been two Candyman sequels already. Lucky for the audience, a young and upcoming painter named Antony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen !!) decided to say someone’s name and let’s just say he got the party started.
McCoy is living with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) is a nice new high-rise in what used to be Cabrini-Green, a public housing development that had a long history of problems. McCoy is trying to get inspired and after hearing the Candyman legend, he starts to dive head first into the legend of Cabrini-Green. He soon meets a man named William Burke (Colman Domingo), who fills in a lot of blanks and really gets Anthony’s attention with the Candyman story. It is at that point where he says his name five times and well, you know. Writers Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Nina DaCosta decided to take a fresh look into this story some thirty years later. DaCosta who also directs, shoots the film with a stylish flare, with some great paper shadow puppet sequences to recap the past film. The backdrop to this story, being the gentrification of Cabrini- Green and of course race and class in America are all set before the Candyman legend. It is once Anthony opens up the pandora’s box and he gets stung by a bee that things really start to change and his art piece simply called “say my name” starts the cycle again of people saying the name is front of a mirror. With that Candyman is reborn, in more ways than one and a lot of people are going to die, and not in very pleasant ways.
Candyman is not out for cheap slasher kills as you are not showered with body horror, but instead the use of strong imagery is intended to cause serious discomfort. The tension bar is high, and it is done not with jump scares, but instead uses cinematographer John Guleserian’s camera work to set the stage along with the striking score of Robert Aiki Audrey Lowe. Even though both Parris and Abdul-Mateen are good, the rest of the characters don’t feel very fleshed out (no pun intended), especially Nathan Stewart-Jarrett’s character Tony, who seems like he is mostly there for comic relief. I feel like this is a Candyman for this generation, for the previous fans of the movie and of Clive Barker’s original short story might not enjoy it as much as it deviates some from that story and goes more modern. For that reason I didn’t enjoy this version as much, but there was plenty of things I did like and like a good horror film, DaCosta leaves the door open for a sequel, all you have to do is say his name.