Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Candyman' (2021)
Say his name...
It would be impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning the political undertone. I mean, you basically can't even talk about the original Candyman (1992) without mentioning the political undertones. The first was more about Redlining and the creation of the Projects, and the new one is more about gentrification and police brutality, but both stories were told with a purpose. The director and writer of both movies wanted to tell a story that highlights the systematic oppression of black people and how that's exploited by white people. The first one didn't pull any punches and neither did the second. Frankly, it's a fantastically brilliant way to create a mythos. The urban legend of Candyman takes on a life of its own in the real lives and real struggles of black people.
However, like the original, the movie is just good horror even without the message. Mind you, the message is the mythos and the mythos is what makes it scary, so the two are inseparable, but that is some universally scary shit they cooked up; an urban legend about a hooked killer you could summon by saying his name. Not to mention, the more people he brutally murders, the more power the legend has and the further it spreads. That's just a fucking good story. It's an instant classic.
The movie also does everything right. It's really about the setting, snobby white art curators want to exploit the art and angst of the main character Anthony, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. This is what pushes Anthony to discover the legend of the Candyman. From here, he begins a slow descent into madness while the legend of Candyman takes hold. He brings the legend back to life through his art, and the legend starts killing people almost immediately. Funny enough, the first victim is the curator who really just wants to exploit Anthony.
This leads to some pretty superb acting. Anthony's descent into madness is an impressive acting feat. His costars are every bit as good. Award winning performances, actually. This is important, because the acting in the original was actually pretty good for horror and that's a lot to live up to. Not everyone was brilliant, but the central cast was and that's all that matters.
Something about the atmosphere actually reminded me of Hellraiser, not like the chains and dark chambers, but the scenes leading up to them. Candyman's kills are also particularly brutal.
I think I have to call this "mandatory viewing" for Horror Heads, at least. I think it's a "must-watch" in general, but basically, if you like horror, you are required to watch this.
I'm so glad this was a sequel. I mean, a reboot would have been fine. If you've read my reviews, you know I'm not against them. However, there was so much about the original movie that deserved growth and a proper sequel. If you've seen Candyman 2 (1995), you know it's a shameless cash grab, trash film. It's mostly flashbacks to the original movie and lacks any real depth. Peele's Candyman is the sequel the original deserves. But it was never advertised as a sequel, and that seemed intentional to get under the skin of fans who liked the original movie, but didn't get or didn't like the message. Peele literally trolled 'anti-woke' audiences by making them think he was changing the story. This outed haters quickly as they easily confessed they didn't see the 'remake' or even understand the original.
Toney Tod makes an appearance as the original Candyman. This is actually an expansion of the mythos. Tod was the first, lynched and tortured by rich white landowners for impregnating a white woman. Over the decades, a man would get lynched under similar circumstances (based on actual historical lynchings) and become the next Candyman. Now, the Candyman legend wants a new body to inhabit. This is where Anthony comes in. He's being groomed by a keeper of the legend to become the next Candyman. That's just fucking cool.
Seriously, the story and movie are so fucking good, you need to see this.
About the Creator
I'm the foulmouthed horror movie critic. I post new reviews every Sunday, so stay tuned =D
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