First off the new Candyman movie is a sequel, not a remake. I’m not sure if the advertising campaign made that clear, yet if one views the new flick l they will witness obvious connections to the first movie. I also slightly prefer the new one over the original, although I do also love the original. Both are fantastic and contribute to modern horror cinema, although I’ll grudgingly admit the 1990s are now three decades ago. Time sure flies.
Nia DaCosta does a fine job of linking Candyman to the horrors of the past, as showcased in extremely freaky puppet show display flashbacks. According to the latest movie, Candyman is powered by victims of extreme brutality and hatred, yet of course also relies on people foolish enough to say his name. Those who don’t believe in his legend do so at their own peril.
In the case of young artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris), they discover that Candyman is very real. Anthony becomes obsessed with the urban myth, even going so far as to interview a local man (Colman Domingo) about Candyman and also creating paintings inspired by his research. The new Candyman works by mostly walking the fine line between social commentary and being really creepy, and is mostly successful.
Some parts are too heavy handed-one scene happens in a bathroom and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what happens next. Also the last act is a bit sloppy in that regard, and I’m not sure that’s how I would have ended the movie. However I chucked at Brianna refusing to go down into a dark basement, and one kill scene begins with a fantastic mirror shot. I will admit this film deserves a longer review, possibly an essay.
Hang around for the credits, that’s for sure. I remember Shudder’s Twitter account bravely asserting that horror is political, and they have a point. Some of my all time favorite horror movies are political and deal with social economic issues. Candyman (2021) is a fine addition to that line of work, and I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. It’s nice to support modern horror sometimes.