Review: ‘Candyman’ Takes a Whole New Spin on the Original

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You only need to say the word “candyman” once to make the connection with Tony Todd playing the imposing mysterious slasher. In the new Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele’s Candyman the story gets a modern retelling of the Candyman with a whole new twist. It’s not what you might expect it to be. So let’s take a look at what it actually is.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:

Based on the legend of the Candyman. Modern day Chicago artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) moves into the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood of Cabrini Green. In a chance encounter, he comes across a local who exposes him to the story behind the Candyman legend. Soon after Anthony’s life takes a series of unexpected frightening twists, as he’s faced with the legend of the Candyman taking over his life and work.

Basically, the myth of Candyman is heavily played upon in this reboot/sequel. It’s the present seeking out the past. What is the Candyman? Is he real? Is it one person/thing/spirit? How does one come to face the Candyman? All these questions are explored in the plot.

TAKEAWAYS AND OBSERVATIONS:

There are plenty tie-ins to the original 1992 Candyman film. I’d urge you to see it prior as a refresher, as there are numerous references and plot points that are tied to the original. The “Helen” character is referenced several times, plus there are a couple cameos from the original cast.

What makes the new Candyman far different from its predecessor is that the story is largely based on the exploration of the Candyman legend. The first film was more of a slasher horror in the mold of popular slasher of the time such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th, while this Candyman is a lot more of a psychological thriller in the mold of other Jordan Peele film’s such as Get Out and Us. You will certainly get a feel and vibe of those previous Peele films in Candyman, while still staying true to the Candyman legend.

For today’s world, this new Candyman version works a lot better, while the original was more fitting for it’s time. I appreciated how Peele just didn’t re-create the character and story, but rather delve deep into it and explore its origins. I’d say this film is a better origins story than the original was.

Peele’s Candyman is rooted in social justice issues and the history of the real life Cabrini Green neighborhood. It’s not necessarily a political take, more of a societal perspective on racism and social justice, especially rooted in the history of Chicago. It’s once again a clever and educational commentary on society, as Peele knows how to best depict.

I found the artist element to McCoy’s character to be a perfect pairing to the story. It fits with exactly with that characters journey in the film. Subliminally brilliant.

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

Colman Domingo might be the most noticeable actor in the film, but the cast is loaded with up-and-coming talent ready to make a serious mark on Hollywood. Abdul-Mateen II is a serious talent, as is his co-lead Teyonah Parris. Both do fantastic work in the film and knock it out of the park as the leads.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is a scene-stealer with his comedic chops that infuse some humor to the film. As previously mentioned, Colman Domingo plays the mysterious laundromat manager/owner William Burke. Domingo’s character has a creepy vibe to him, but he’s so good at playing the character that it makes you wonder if Burke is a voice of reason after all.

The film was mainly shot in Chicago, in the same actual neighborhoods that the story is centred on. Credit to Chicago casting director Claire Simon to cast some impressive local talent for the supporting roles and day player parts. Kyle Kaminsky is one of those Chicagoans that’ prominently featured in the film. As a Chicagoan, I was pleased to see local talent shine and get their opportunities.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

I found Candyman to be very compelling and interesting on several levels. It’s kinda fun as a viewer trying to unlock the social messages being sent and at which points of the film they are being tied into the plot. As a fan of the original, I found this version to be a lot more intriguing. It had substantial more depth than the first one also.

It’s hard to not like Candyman (the film). It offers all the elements of intrigue, strong acting, clever storytelling and twists and turns that you’d hope a thriller can provide you with. As I mentioned earlier it’s a lot more of psychological twister of the likes of The Shining than it is a slasher of the likes of Jason.

VERDICT:

This Candyman is a whole different kinda movie. It’s layered. It’s modern. It’s smart. It’s good. There are a few points in the film that make it a bit convoluted. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I’m still not entirely sure what Candyman really is. Maybe I’m supposed to think it’s open-ended with possibilities? That’s where the supernatural element comes to play.

Candyman is well-crafted story with the right amount of tense moments. It’s another hit for Peele. It’s not a perfect film, but I promise you’ll be entertained and talking about it after.

Now, for those wondering if the legend Tony Todd makes an appearance, well, you’ll just have to see and figure out for yourselves. I know, I’m awful. Say it with me, Candyman..Candyman..Candyman…Candyman..Can…Yea I’m not crazy enough to do it all the way. You can try it and tell me how that goes for you. Byeee Candyfans!

GENRE: Horror, Thriller

RATING: R

RUNTIME: 1 hr 31 min

RELEASE DATE: ‘Candyman’ releases in Theaters on August 27

  • Acting: 8/10
  • Entertainment: 8.5/10
  • Story/Plot: 9/10
  • Impression: 9.5/10
  • Creativity10/10

‘CANDYMAN’ Score: 90%

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