Directed by Nia DaCosta [Other horror films: N/A]
I can’t exactly say that I’m disappointed in Candyman, as I’ve consistently heard somewhat mixed reactions to this one, but I was personally hoping that it’d have done a bit more for me than it ultimately did.
Part of this is because I rather love the 1992 Candyman – I think it’s a fantastically strong movie with a lot going for it. This sequel, though certainly more enjoyable than something like Candyman: Day of the Dead, just didn’t have near the magic a story like this should have.
Now, I do think there were some strong elements. I love the more modern perspectives – there’s crucial plot points revolving around the violence committed against the black community by police officers, along with there being a rather fun gay couple in the film. It’s the type of movie that, because of some of the elements, certain segments might be turned away from.
Even without being a bigot or a racist, though, I don’t think it’s an unfair criticism to call the film a little bit of a mess. I don’t think it’s disastrous, and I did rather love how they tied this story into the 1992 classic, but I also found the finale a bit disappointing. I mean, I got it, and aspects worked (such as the continuation of the myth that is the Candyman, along with a brief Tony Todd appearance), but I just didn’t really care for Colman Domingo’s character.
Otherwise, it was a decent cast. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was a pretty strong lead, though I can’t say I exactly love how his storyline goes. Teyonah Parris had some solid moments later on, and while never a crucial cast member, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett was pretty fun. Vanessa Williams also pops up, which is nice – the movie already had strong connections to the 1992 film, what with pictures of and references to Virginia Madsen’s Helen, but throwing in a returning character was a nice touch.
However, I don’t love the body horror. I never really did like body horror, of course, and I just personally didn’t see why they added it here. Especially when a character was able to pull one of their fingernails off, it felt like I was watching Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, and the less I’m reminded of that movie, the better, as far as I’m concerned.
I certainly thought the movie had a lot of potential going in. I loved the opening scene, and I love how it’s expanded on later to show it in a far more tragic light. I love them not pulling any punches when it comes to the abuses of the police department, and I naturally loved that minor massacre during the finale of the film.
Actually, while I think the overall movie is below average, most of the kills throughout are solid. There was a stylish scene of a woman being murdered, the audience seeing the violence through a window at a distance. There was a pretty solid double murder at an art gallery. Even better than the final massacre was a scene in a prep school, in which some young girls get #Candymanned, which I appreciated, and I felt was somewhat ballsy.
Also, I absolutely adored the use of shadow puppets during some flashback sequences. It had a very unique appearance, and I was never for a second disengaged when those scenes popped up, even during the credits. And on a side-note, I loved the variation of the original Candyman music used during the credits – certainly this version of the music is more subtle, but I noticed it almost immediately, and I loved hearing it again.
Even so, I found the experience ultimately lukewarm. Elements worked, and certainly other elements were appreciated, but on the whole, I can’t say that I thought Candyman was good. It’s certainly serviceable, and it’s quite possible that I’ll enjoy it the more I see it, but for the time being, I think it just missed it’s mark.