CANDYMAN (2021) Reviews and overview

 

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Candyman is a 2021 American supernatural horror film “spiritual sequel” of the 1990s franchise directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele (director of UsGet Out and producer of TV series’ Lovecraft Country and The Twilight Zone) via his Monkeypaw Productions. The original 1992 Candyman movie was loosely based on Clive Barker‘s story The Forbidden and starred Tony Todd as the iconic titular supernatural killer.

Joining Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the titular Candyman and Teyonah Parris, the production features Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) and Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead).

Plot:

In the present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini. A chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to use these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence…

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Reviews:

“Scary scenes are abundant in the picture. The gory “kills” are achieved in inventive ways that often catch viewers off-guard […] Even with a couple minor flaws, Candyman works as both a sociopolitical allegory and a fright show. The ending paves the way for future installments. For once, that choice seems more promising than cynical. As long as racial injustice exists, the Candyman has a reason to, as well.” The Aisle Seat

“At just 91 minutes, there is a lot going on in Candyman, and the end result feels a bit scattered and rushed […] Thankfully, there are at least some great moments between Brianna’s brother and his partner to add some levity to what is a decidedly stark film. Nia DaCosta has delivered a refreshing update on the Candyman mythos that speaks to how trauma can continue to reverberate down through the generations.” Bad Feeling

Candyman deftly juggles so much at once, from artistic intent and ownership to a history of violence that birth monstrous legends. A history that DaCosta’s film aims to reclaim with a fiery passion, building to a finale that slams into you like a freight train and gets under your skin. DaCosta is a powerhouse director, and her singular vision demands not only that you say his name but understand why.” Bloody Disgusting

“Clocking in at 86 minutes (before end credits), Candyman doesn’t give itself much time to expand on strange ideas, often more concerned with its connection to the first film, leaving the conclusion underwhelming and the overall endeavor oddly restrained at times, missing the intimidation factor of Todd, the winding sonic hypnotism of Glass, and the brutal imagination of Barker and Rose.” Blu-ray.com

” …Candyman (2021) is a film that is going to take a lot of fans by surprise, and I am curious to see how horror enthusiasts react to the new directions DaCosta takes here. For me, I love how confidently she brings the iconic villain into the 21st century, and DaCosta does an incredible job of recontextualizing the legend of the Candyman here, too. It may not quite be the gut-punch cinematic experience most of us felt while watching the original Candyman, but there are still plenty of sweets for the sweet…” Daily Dead

“Nia DaCosta expands upon the Candyman mythology and combines jump scares, horrifying imagery, and social commentary in a way that is sure to delight and terrify a new generation of moviegoers.” Dread Central

“By the conclusion, it’s evident that this part-remake, part-sequel doesn’t add much to the franchise, principally just reiterating a handful of ideas or reworking them for contemporary audiences accustomed to greater levels of death and destruction. Even the parting shots are too derivative and unconvincingly manufactured to be potent, regardless of the redefining of Candyman’s legacy and lore (and an adjustment for a universality of ethnic oppression).” Gone With the Twins

“An effective modern reworking of a criminally little known horror character, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman puts fresh eyes on an old story with excellent results. Falling just the right side of being respectful, Candyman pushes boundaries and creates a film that, although intrinsically linked to the original, ventures into new territories, thus ensuring that the legend of Candyman will live on once more.” The Hollywood News

Candyman (2020) was written by DeCosta along with Win Roefield and co-writer and producer Jordan Peele. The trio created a great film that brings light to injustice while providing scares, entertainment, and new characters that are relatable and interesting. It’s a film with nice character development and pacing as well as many twists and turns.” Horror Fuel

” …it is host to one of my favorite endings of the year (and one of the best cameos!) that left me equal parts shocked and satisfied. Candyman is brutal, unforgiving, and exceptionally dark while paying tribute to the horror of yesteryear, despite still never for a second forgetting what made that original film so great. It is not simply one of the best horror movies of the year; Candyman is one of the best movies of the year, period.” Josh at the Movies

” …the specter of white supremacy is intrinsically linked to the events of the film, from the origins of Daniel Robitaille — Tony Todd’s character in the original film — to the beating of Sherman Fields to a climax that feels so infuriating for its injustice, and yet so familiar it could have been ripped from today’s headlines. Candyman is supremely bold work from DaCosta, a delicate blend of style and substance whose themes are every bit as haunting as its fearsome antagonist.” The Lamplight Review

” …the real elephant in the room is Candyman, or rather the lack thereof. The lore of Candyman is reworked in a way that would have worked fine if this were a complete reset, but which leaves you scratching your head as to how it dovetails with the ’92 original […] After…erm, hooking us in with some nice atmosphere and what initially seems like an interesting take on the Candyman lore, DaCosta’s film falls apart in its final act.” The Movie Waffler

” …this sequel-slash-reboot may not be quite what die-hard fans were expecting, but it remains a stylishly made, smartly written piece of work that’s as provocative and poignant as it is chilling. Also, even if it lacks a big set-piece, it’ll still have you steering well clear of bathroom mirrors.” Nerdly

Candyman drops the ball near the end-zone and some relationships and ideas aren’t deepened […] but the masterful camera work and atmospheric storytelling help subside the hurried finale that feels almost like a completely different movie, Still, it keeps the legacy alive and does its part at introducing smart horror into the subconscious of those who show up expecting the same slash and dash each time.” The Only Critic

“There is talk of collective trauma to explain this all away which could have used some fine tuning. One of the Candyman set pieces, while creepy in execution, is divorced from the rest of the story […] What 2021’s Candyman does right is to use supernatural horror to depict the real horror decades of police brutality and corruption. And it does so with enough style, including Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s new twist on that music box score, to forgive some of its less well-honed aspects.” Reeling Reviews

” …in attempting to encompass so many themes and ideas, this movie doesn’t quite achieve the taut, relentless focus and drive of its progenitor. Several moments attempt satire of art-scene pretensions that aren’t all that meaningful and distract from the core narrative, and glimpses of Brianna’s backstory aren’t sufficiently fleshed out […] Candyman is at its best when it’s exploring the brutal, tragic heart of its mythology, transporting the material into modern times.” Rue Morgue

“Combining the silhouette puppet show with the storytelling promotes the collective nature of the urban legend, as each storyteller adds to or adjusts how we view the legends of Helen, Robitaille, and the other Candymans […] Candyman is powerful and disturbing, one that keeps the audience on the other side of the mirror, watching as that individual and collective trauma is forced to be inescapable to those left vulnerable.” Screen Anarchy

“At the heart of this film is the exploration of trauma and not just trauma but cross-generational trauma. This exploration of trauma means that the film can sometimes be a bit obtuse, and other times it has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer […] There became a disconnect between how menacing Candyman was in the reflections and how goofy it looked whenever they had him hover.” TL; DR Movie Reviews

“This film is far more about acrimony than allegory, and it makes for a crude element of ‘Candyman-as-avenger’ which detracts from Candyman’s better qualities. Still, production values here are decent overall, and there is enough going on to make this a perfectly watchable, entertaining film, albeit one which throws the merits of the original into even sharper relief.” Warped Perspective

Release date:

Candyman will be released theatrically on August 27th 2021.

Previously, we reported that the reboot of the Candyman franchise is apparently going to confront the issue of toxic fandom head-on. Ian Cooper, the creative director of Jordan Peele’s MonkeyPaw productions recently told Deadline:

“We talk a lot about fans and the idea of appeasing fans and when you do that and how do you do that and when do you not do that. I think my issue with fandom is that it’s really problematic. It’s probably the most problematic thing facing the genre.”

As was recently noted by Movieweb on the same topic, toxic fandom isn’t just genre specific. Supposed fans of Star Wars forced Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley to ditch their social media accounts for just being involved in the franchise. Meanwhile, disgruntled Game of Thrones followers who were unhappy with the final season started petitions (!) to have another ending more suited to their own tastes. The new Candyman movie will apparently address such over-reactions. Ian Cooper said:

“It typically comes with a dogma that is abrasive and that is more resistant to change and permutation than you would think. I think what we’re trying to do with Candyman is both be mischievous in how we address the relationship to the first film but also be very satisfying.”

Cooper explained further:

“What we’re doing with Candyman and how Jordan is crafting it on the page is going to be very exciting and rewarding to audiences that haven’t seen the original film as well as people who’ve seen the original film. In a broad sense of the word, this film will stand alone if you’ve never heard of a film called Candyman and will dovetail in a pretty complicated and interesting way to the original. In short, I think this will really fit in with what we’re doing with Us and did with Get Out in a way that will be circuitous.”

Jordan Peele told Variety:

“The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre. Alongside Night of the Living Dead, Candyman was a major inspiration for me as a filmmaker — and to have a bold new talent like Nia at the helm of this project is truly exciting. We are honored to bring the next chapter in the Candyman canon to life and eager to provide new audiences with an entry point to Clive Barker’s legend.”

MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman added:

“We cannot wait for the world to see what the mind-blowing combination of Jordan, Win, and Nia bring to the legend of Candyman. They have created a story that will not only pay reverence to Clive Barker’s haunting and brilliant source material but is also thoroughly modern and will bring in a whole new generation of fans.”

Cast and characters:

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II … Anthony McCoy
Teyonah Parris … Brianna Cartwright
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett … Troy Cartwright
Colman Domingo … William Burke
Kyle Kaminsky … Grady Cartwright
Vanessa Williams … Anne-Marie McCoy
Rebecca Spence … Finley Stephens
Carl Clemons-Hopkins … Jameson
Brian King … Clive Privler
Miriam Moss … Jerrica Cooper
Cassie Kramer … Librarian
Mark Montgomery … Detective Lipez
Genesis Denise Hale … Sabrina
Rodney L Jones III … Billy
Pamela Jones … Devlin Sharpe
Hannah Love Jones … Young Brianna
Cedric Mays … Gil Cartwright
Tony Todd … Daniel Robitaille / Candyman
Heidi Grace Engerman … Haley Gulick
Christiana Clark … Danielle Harrington
Torrey Hanson … Jack Hyde
Tien Tran … Jane Ji
Alec Silver … Restaurant Server
Sarah Wisterman … Celine
Malic White … Boof
Sarah Lo … Samantha
Breanna Lind … Annika
Ireon Roach … Trina
J. Nicole Brooks … Doctor Collins

Filming locations:

Chicago, Illinois

Technical details:

91 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

Trailer: