Director; Nia DaCosta. Starring; Yahyu Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Tony Todd. Rated R. Color. 91 Minutes.
Of course with Jordan Peele involved, “Candyman” was not going to be your standard slasher horror movie. The original three movies that began in 1992 were basically a dude with a hook for a hand killing stupid teenagers. It was a running joke that millions of idiots like myself growing up would do. Say his name five times in the mirror and he kills you. While yes some stupid teens are killed, this new version has a vastly different take on the slasher as it is deeply rooted in social justice and the racial wage gap.
We open with a young kid named Billy (Rodney L. Jones III) growing up in the hardcore projects known as Cabrini Green in Chicago. Billy’s mother is hustling him to walk his ass around the corner and do the laundry. It is there that the Candyman appears out of the wall, hook and all, offering the kid little candies. He screams and runs. The police on the street above hear this and come rushing down.
Cut to modern day. Anthony (Yahyu Abdul-Mateen II) is a struggling artist in that same ghetto. Except it is not the ghetto it once was as rich people gentrified most of the area. Anthony’s girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) is the bread-winner in the house, which is one of the nicer new high rises. Anthony is a struggling artist and part-time photographer. He is reminded of the legend of Candyman and discovers that when he first met the spoke the Candyman was still a real person. He was creepy, but he liked giving out candy to children. That same day when young Anthony saw Candyman a group of police officers ran down and brutally beat him to death. Now that he knows the full story, Anthony decides to do a series of paintings on the subject.
The work has the art scene loving this series. The only problem, the work brings Candyman back. The creepy killings begin, starting off brilliantly with the first killing of the a-hole museum curator. Now Anthony is obsessed and begins looking further into the old neighborhood. The neighborhood laundry mat owner William (Colman Domingo) Somehow knows all about Candyman and breaks it down for Anthony. This obsession gets stranger after Anthony is stung by a Candyman bee. He’s even seeing the ghost in reflections when he had not even summoned him. Candyman continues killing, but somehow scarred Anthony with a strange dark gross skin condition that is growing up his arm, and starting take over his mind.
The new rendition of this story is far more complex both visually and conceptually. The use of the mirror and opposite shadow killings are creative. My favorite part was the shadow puppetry used to tell parts of the story created by artist Manual Cinema. But the biggest key is the way in which it deals with the systemic oppression that blacks have experienced for generations. Was to be expected with Jordan Peele having written the script. “The Candyman” is not a perfect movie. The ending goes a bit off the rails. But it is a solid horror with an intelligent message.
Suck Factor: 2 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really Sucks!)
The Suck Factor! How it works. We have flipped the script on the standard ratings system, If you made a classic, it gets 0 SUCKS! If you make completely crap such as a Michael Bay movie, you receive an embarrassing 7 SUCKS!