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It’s been with much anticipation that I’ve been waiting for a return trip to Cabrini-Green and one that doesn’t sour the original feature directed by Bernard Rose based on the Novella by Clive Barker was released back in 1992.  
Where Freddy Krueger haunted my dreams and ignited my love of horror, Candyman pushed me deeper into the genre and I’ve been… (ahem) hooked on it ever since.

Just check out our thoughts on the original movie below:

Surgeons of Horror podcast: Candyman (1992)

From the creative mindset of Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us), Win Rosenfeld (The Twilight Zone), and Director Nia DaCosta (Crossing The Line) we are presented with a ‘spiritual’ sequel.
It’s clear from the get-go that this film won’t exactly walk the same route as its predecessor with the inverted shots of skyscrapers shot from beneath, looking up to a foggy skyline, in juxtaposition to Bernard Rose’s helicopter shots over an expansive cityscape.
While this latest offering trips over a little in bringing our central characters into the mythology surrounding Daniel Robataille, which may disappoint devotees, but those that are familiar with Peele’s work (myself included among them) will soon succumb to this interpretation.
In effect, the key component that really makes the 2021 version a must-see movie, is that it takes the Barker/Rose vision one step further and gives ownership to the titular character to Black America and its history.
Where the story behind Robitaille, Helen Lyle, and Cabrini-Green is the stuff of legend, it is one of many that has embedded itself in America’s racial divide. With each passing generation, the scars have been etched over the years and with every Daniel Robataille, there’s a Sherman Fields. The physical and mental weight has taken its toll and is ripe for the Candyman to return and leave a path of bloody retribution.

Where DaCosta casts the narrative this time around we follow struggling artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – Us, Aquaman), a name that may be familiar to some. In order to reawaken his artistic expression, McCoy discovers the true story behind Candyman and in doing so, rekindles the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface. Just as it seeps out of the woodwork of Cabrini-Green and out of the mirror, Candyman breathes new life and old fears into the neighbourhood whilst affecting the souls of those closest to his awakening.

The Diagnosis:

All the cast deserve high praise, standing alongside Abdul-Mateen II is Teyonah Parris as his partner, Brianna; Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as her brother, Troy; Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead) as the keeper of the legend, William Burke; and Vanessa Williams reprising her role of Anne-Marie. 

It is the myth that really shines through here though and the artistic expression from a bold and creative team to take it in a direction that is not only a powerful commentary on the state of our times, but an important one.
It’s not perfect, but it’s as near as and earmarks a new chapter in the Candyman legend; one that may herald more stories to come.
Heaven knows the dark chapter of American history has a lot to explore and a perfect avenue for Candyman to continue to spread fear and devastation, if you dare to say his name and expose the truth.

  • Saul Muerte