Its time for a new vision of terror as much like David Gordon Green’s Halloween, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman ignores its sequels and sets itself onto a new path….but does it work?
Unlike most horror franchises, despite its legacy of a horror classic, Candyman doesn’t have the baggage of the likes of Freddy, Jason and Michael so when Nia DaCosta starts with the familiar upside down shots that served its 1992 original so well, there won’t be many worried that they totally ignoring just the two sequels that originally followed.
I was one of the minority who liked but didn’t “love” the original. Having grown up during the horror genre during the middle of the 80’s Slasher boom, in which I saw Jason and co release what seemed like an endless amount of sequels in such a short time offering carnage and bloodshed, while Candyman came out and it felt like the a more serious movie which for a young lad, which took me by surprise, even though like many 90’s teens I wouldn’t dare to say his name 5 times in front of a mirror.
As I grew older I realised and respected the impact the movie made. Unlike many horrors, it actually had something to say, a voice to be heard and a legacy that even to this day is respected and honoured throughout the horror community.
While the words “soft re-boot” can sometimes ring alarm bells for fans, DaCosta along with Jordan Peele’s expertise in the writing duties, totally respects the original material in which it makes this addition feel more like a sequel even though the lack of Tony Todd is an alarming factor that you can not dismiss.
Living a good life but struggling for his next big project, artist Anthony ( Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his art gallery director girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) are told the story of the Candyman from Brianna’s brother Troy ( Misfits Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) a handy plot vice which drives the plot on and helps those newbies watching who haven’t seen the original film.
Soon Anthony is stung by a bee (this time those honey lovers play a much pivotal role in proceedings) and the fact that they live in a glitzy and fancy apartment in which the old Cabrini-Green neighbourhood resided and you begin to feel the dread from within each frame as we know the man with the hook is out there, waiting patiently.
DaCosta’s film has a lot to say and sometimes the plot feels likes its overburden with its message but when the killings start there is an air of quality among the bloodshed as the film offers up a sleek and stylish style with each frame filmed full of confidence from cinematographer John Guleserian who respectfully needs a mention.
Times have moved on since Bernard Rose with the help of Clive Baker brought the Candyman to the big screen but the message stays the name. The newcomers expecting a Halloween bloodbath will be ruthlessly disappointed and will soon become to realise that the man who you dare not to say his name five times is not a typical bogeyman,
He’s a killer with a hook who wants to make a statement even through at times this 2021 version his preachy announcements come at the cost of downright scares…..
3.5 Hatchets out of 5