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In 1984, Clive Barker published his book of short stories titled “Books of Blood.” One of the stories, “The Forbidden,” was later adapted into the original film “Candyman” in 1992, directed by Bernard Rose. The story follows Helen, a university student, doing a thesis on graffiti who selects a run-down estate as a focus for her study. The original story took place in England dealing with the class structure but was changed to the Cabrini-Green housing projects of Chicago for the film. Focus on race became a top social commentary as ‘Candyman’ cemented itself as one of the best horror movies of the 1990s. The film sparked two lesser sequels and eventually a direct sequel/reboot in 2021.
Behind the mirror
‘Candyman’ 2021 was directed by Nia DaCosta and written by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and DaCosta. Peele also produced the film and opted to go the “legacy sequel” route and ignore the sequels of the original. The film broadens the social commentary of the original to highlight recent themes of police brutality and racial injustice.
‘Candyman’ 2021: Review
It’s been nearly 30 years since Helen Lyle went crazy in the minds of the residents of the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago, Illinois. Lyle was the victim of the Urband Legend Candyman, who if you say his name five times in a mirror will come to haunt you. Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), who was killed as the result of an interracial love affair during the 19th century, was the original Candyman It’s explained that Candyman “isn’t a he, he’s the whole damn hive.” Candyman is no longer one person, but rather multiple beings who enact revenge on those who wronged them. Racial injustice is at the core of the injustice and revenge.
The newest ‘Candyman’ follows struggling artist Anthony McCoy who lives in Chicago with his girlfriend, art gallery director Brianna Cartwright. While having wine with Cartwright’s brother and his boyfriend, they’re told the legend of Candyman and Helen Lyle. The scene is beautifully depicted in the form of a black and white puppet show. McCoy uses the Candyman story as inspiration for his next project in the hopes he can reignite his art career. As McCoy digs deeper into the legend, the Candyman makes his presence felt. The Candyman haunts and murders new victims, while Anthony’s mental and physical health declines.
Anthony gains most of his information from laundromat owner William Burke, who elaborates on the story. Burke reveals that when he was a young boy, he witnessed the death of a black man named Sherman Fields at the hands of the police. Fields acted as yet another form of the Candyman urban legend.
Ending: With Spoilers
The conclusion of ‘Candyman’ 2021 comes quickly. It would have benefited from another 10-15 minutes to pace the story a bit smoother. Nonetheless, the finale is a solid one. Brianna witnesses his full transformation at the hands of Burke, who had gone mad from the myth. After bringing McCoy back after saying his name in a mirror of a cop car, the new Candyman takes vengeance. Brianna fleas from the cop car and mayhem to see Daniel Robitaille appear, advising her to “tell everyone.”
‘Candyman’ 2021 Movie Thoughts and Rating:
The 2021 ‘Candyman’ feels very much like a film of its time, reflecting social and political themes of the day. Nia DaCosta weaves the film together within 90 minutes, creating a compelling story with a deeper message below the surface.
The performances are believable, especially from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy. Mateen takes his character from a struggling artist to a mentally broken man. The cinematography by John Guleserian displays a beautiful canvas for DaCosta to tell her story. Special Makeup Effects Designer J. Anthony Kosar created practical effects that will have the audience cringe with its realistic depiction of body horror.
‘Candyman’ 2021 might not be a perfect film, but very few are. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critics’ score is 84 percent with an audience score of 72 percent. Those numbers reflect a good balance between critics and fans, which appears to be spot on in their assessment. ‘Candyman’ 2021 is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital and comes highly recommended. 4 out of 5.