3 out of 5 stars (average)
Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is one of the most ambitious horror movies you’ll see this year. A direct sequel to the 1992 film of the same name, DaCosta’s film goes for the jugular attempting to tackle several weighty themes while also giving audiences a satisfyingly scary gorefest. For me, Candyman fumbles a bit in connecting all of its fascinating ideas together, but is otherwise an expertly crafted horror movie that should satisfy fans of the original.
Struggling artist Anthony McCoy (a charismatic Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Aquaman) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris, WandaVision) have just moved into the heavily gentrified neighborhood of Cabrini-Green. When welcoming neighbor William (Colman Domingo) informs Anthony of a spirit that once haunted the neighborhood known as Candyman (Tony Todd). Anthony starts using that bloody history as inspiration for his art, starting a horrifying chain of events that will change him and his loved ones forever.
Candyman is a very well-made movie held back by its ambition. The performances by the entire cast are strong, the gory kills are tense and very well-executed, and the direction by Nia DaCosta is exceptional. If you’re coming for the kills, you’ll leave fully satisfied in that regard and get an interesting story out of it too. Ms. DaCosta makes a great mark behind the camera and I’m interested to see her future projects (lucky for me she’s directing the Captain Marvel sequel soon). Candyman is attempting to explore several complex and highly emotional themes across 91 minutes, and while the film doesn’t have enough time to properly explore or connect them (with some leaving the building entirely by the midway point), it’s still a solid horror sequel that will entertain fans of the original. Watch the 1992 film first unless you enjoy utter confusion in the theater. Candyman’s ambitious ideas aren’t fully explored, but great performances, excellent direction, and gory kills ensure it hooks you from the word go. See Candyman.
Rated R for Bloody Horror Violence, and Language Including Some Sexual References (There are some welcome moments of humor here and there).