Directed by Bernard Rose [Other horror films: Paperhouse (1988), Snuff-Movie (2005), sxtape (2013), Frankenstein (2015)]
While not a particularly disjointed movie, this early 1990’s classic does at times a disorienting, if not somewhat dreamy, feel to it.
And this works to Candyman’s credit, as the movie certainly feels a bit deeper than the preceding decade of horror. Atmospheric, yet definitely gory, Candyman’s the type of film that I think has a decent amount of appeal.
Based off a short story by Clive Barker, the plot is decently interesting (and feels a more well-rounded look into myths than Urban Legend did six years later), and takes some interesting turns (such as a one month time-lapse toward the end). Really, I think this helped the audience feel as disoriented as the main character was, while also allowing sympathy.
Speaking of which, Virginia Madsen does a fantastic job as Helen. Throughout the film, she was a joy to watch. Xander Berkeley (who has a couple hundred roles on IMDb, and I know best from his appearance on The X-Files) had a good screen presence also, and I rather liked his calm demeanor (along with his emotional scene at the end). And of course, Tony Todd does a great job as the Candyman, and his voice was just creepily well-done.
The movie is certainly not without it’s downsides. Not enough explanation of exactly what Candyman’s angle is really given. We’re left to make assumptions, which is fine, especially for a more fantasy blend of horror, but it’s still a bit annoying. And while I sort of liked the enclosed feeling the movie had (it kept it’s core characters and expanded on few others), a wider scope of sorts might have been nice.
Still, the movie was a fun fantasy-horror mix (on a side note, director Bernard Rose also directed Paperhouse, from 1988, a very dark fantasy/light horror mix, which I loved), and the gore it possesses should be enough to engage fans of more straight-forward slashers. The ending sequences (with the bonfire, the funeral, and the aftermath) worked extraordinarily well together, as rarely I’ve seen horror that ended with real feeling.
Questions still come to mind about what exactly Candyman’s goal was, but overall, this Clive Barker adaptation is very much worth seeing. The calming Candyman theme is enjoyable, the movie’s atmospheric feel is great, so this really stands out as a highlight of 90’s horror no matter how many time you’ve seen it.