Movie Review | Candyman: Bold, scary sequel brings a classic bogeyman to the modern world – The Daily Athenaeum – thedaonline

Its been almost thirty years since the release of Bernard Roses Candyman, a wicked horror tale based on Clive Barkers The Forbidden that remains one of the most respected horror/thrillers of the nineties, a story about urban legends among many things that has become one itself.

Nia DaCosta understands this, opening her sequel/reimagining in a 1977 version of Cabrini-Green before the events of Rose's original, riddled with cops and dread. A young boy takes his laundry down to the washroom, and finds a man with a hook hand emerging from a hole in the wall, offering him candy. Its not the menace we are familiar with, and the sound of searching cops above strikes fear into his eyes.

This is the world of DaCostas Candyman: an unapologetic examination of a monster created by monsters and how that legacy lives on for ages.

After the frightening intro, we are taken to a gentrified Cabrini-Green in 2019, where the past is toppled for soulless skyscrapers and overpriced apartment complexes. Living comfortably in one of those spaces is painter Anthony (a commanding Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his art dealer girlfriend Brianna (an equally impressive Teyonah Parris). Anthony hasnt been inspired in years, but when he hears the legend of Candyman, seemingly almost forgotten beneath the rubble of the new, glassy future, Anthony believes hes found his new passion project.

This drive sends our protagonist down a rabbit hole of obsession (reminiscent of Sean Byrnes 2015 indie hit The Devils Candy), as the history of the titular villain begins to bleed into Anthonys own life, eating away at him, and the emergence of Candymans relevance through Anthonys artwork wreaks brutal havoc on a number of supporting cast members.

The horror sequences are just as unflinching in execution as the films updated themes. A clever use of a bee sting in the first act transforms into a gnarly bit of body horror reflective of Anthonys furthering deterioration. Mirrors are also heavily prevalent as the modernized killer utilizes them to spill sheets of blood and slit throats with ease. The unforgiving nature of these murders creates a different, but equally effective atmosphere from the original thrillers more psychological approach.

It also helps that DaCosta directs these moments so artfully that they never sink into emotionless, stale violence. A kill focused through a compact mirror sends chills from what the audience cant see. A silent zoom out of an apartment complex where a womans struggle goes unnoticed against the sound of a bustling city projects the cold world these characters exist in. And the sound design is so rich, it feels like a character in and of itself.

Eventually, the breakneck pace becomes slightly too much for the film to keep up with as it reaches it finale, leaving some of its complex ideas too muddy (I have a sneaking suspicion DaCosta has a directors cut that will clean up some of these snags), but it doesnt detract from a vision that will ensure Candyman lives on for generations to come.

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Movie Review | Candyman: Bold, scary sequel brings a classic bogeyman to the modern world - The Daily Athenaeum - thedaonline

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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