Candyman (2021) Movie Review: Social commentary through the lens of horror

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Candyman was released in U.S. theaters on August 27th, 2021. It currently has a 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 137 reviews from critics. The film is directed by Nia DaCosta and is a direct sequel to the 1992 original.

Candyman follows Anthony, who moves to Cabrini, almost a decade after the towers were torn down. After being introduced to the concept of Candyman, Anthony accidently unleashes the beast and creates a new wave of violence and insanity.

The Good:

Right away, Candyman does a good job of familiarizing the audience with the core concept of the film. If you haven’t seen the original movie, you should still be able to enjoy this flick, as the backstory is explained just enough to account for new viewers.

The three standout performances in Candyman were from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony, Teyonah Parris as Brianna, and Colman Domingo as William. Domingo was only briefly in the movie, but his character was immensely important to the story. He stood out among his co-stars each time that he was featured onscreen. Abdul-Mateen II and Parris had great chemistry as the leads, creating a true sense of dread as their lives and relationship began to sporadically spiral downhill.

Along with the acting, I must also mention the cinematography. The use of mirrors and reflections was executed perfectly in Candyman, with some truly terrifying shots. Director of cinematography John Guleserian combined with Nia DaCosta’s unique vision delivered an abundance of beautiful sequences throughout the film.

Candyman moves at its own pace, with the story being carefully unfolded in layers. With a 91 minute runtime, I found it to be the perfect length. The first act is spent slowly explaining the concept of candyman, but eventually everything begins to unravel. Where this film goes in its final act is not only bold, but exhilarating. I absolutely loved the third act.

Social commentary, specifically on race, is the main subject of this film. While general audiences tend to dislike this approach, this study on social issues was astoundingly evident in the original movie as well. I found most of the discussions on these subjects to be effective, but there were some odd moments too.

Finally, Candyman featured AWESOME body horror. Several of the effects had me cringing, which is something that I hardly do.

The Bad:

I noted the use of social commentary in Candyman above and while it was mostly effective, I do have to note that it was too un-ambiguous at times. Throughout the first act, the sequences of exposition are almost too straightforward and on the nose. I completely agree with the issues that they were bringing up, but the conversations just didn’t feel very natural at times.

Just like the original, I wouldn’t call this a “typical” horror movie. It pours the majority of its focus on social commentary, through the lens of horror. Some people may not like this style of horror, but I certainly did.

Final Verdict:

Candyman features some outstanding visuals, along with an effective dive into social issues. The film takes its time explaining the fundamental creation of the legend and offers a new take on the character.

If you enjoyed the 1992 original, then I believe that you will enjoy this version as well. Updated visual effects definitely bring Candyman to new heights, creating a truly scary and immersive atmosphere.

Don’t go into this movie expecting a slasher film. It features plenty of gore, but it is so much more than just that.

Rating: 9 out of 10 on the scale of awesomeness!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you so much for reading my review of Candyman! Let me know what you thought of the film in the comments and as always…


Follow me on Twitter @KevinsFilmRevi1 or on Instagram @kevinfilmreviews.

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