Candyman (2021)

Nia DaCosta directs Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo in this legacy sequel to the original Clive Barker adaptation.

Bernard Rose’s Candyman is a favourite in our house; an urban fairytale where body horror meets social commentary meets gothic romance. So this attempt reimagine the concept from black voices and leapfrog over those duff cash-in sequels that directly followed is welcome. There are times where it can feel like a dissertation movie – something with just a little too much to say to do so persuasively and set to inspire far too many college thesis over the next few year. Candyman is explicitly repositioned as a personification of black American suffering, a golem or wraith solidifying a history of racial violence. This aspect works well and the first hour has plenty of shocks and food for thought – classily made, well cast and gripping. It is a project that is in constant dialogue with the original, sometimes on the attack, often celebratory, but never alienating to newcomers or old fans. There is trouble in paradise however. The closer does go off the rails a fair whack. You could say DaCosta is matching the unpredictable lurches of the original’s third act. But those narrative leaps felt discombobulating but organic to the set-up. Here the big finale seems rushed to the border of incoherence. The final shot will sate the existing fanbase and you’ll never see better executed shadow puppetry as a narrative device on the big screen. With a really penetratingly icky score from Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe too boot, he gives Philip Glass a run for his money.

7

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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