Even those who haven’t seen the older Candyman films know the legend, hearing it as children at slumber parties or on the playground right along with other tales like Bloody Mary. Say his name into the mirror five times, and the Candyman will appear to slaughter the person who summoned him with his bloody hook for a hand.
This sequel to the 1992 horror film of the same name does a fantastic job paying homage to the original and bringing something new and fresh to the table right along with it.
The 2021 film draws us back into a modern-day Cabrini-Green, the now-gentrified former housing project where the original film took place. It’s been twenty-seven years since the events in the first film unfolded, and a young visual artist looking to make his name in the industry turns to the urban legends revolving around the Candyman to inspire his work. Things only spiral out of control from there, with other people whispering about the legend once more and Anthony himself being dragged deeper and deeper into the lore himself.
Horror and social commentary are woven together in this film to give us something far deeper than your average slasher flick. This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill or in-your-face hack ’em, slash ’em style horror movie. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those, of course.) It’s more of a deeper, smothering kind of horror where it builds up throughout the film in a very satisfying way. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of cringe-inducing horror moments, especially in the body horror department. Trypophobes, you’ve been warned. 😉
I greatly enjoyed the cinematography. The film’s main character is an artist, and that is reflected in the artistic and stylistic way that the entire film is shot. Even the use of shadow puppetry as a visual tool for storytelling was entrancing and haunting to watch. There are also a lot of little blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments subtly peppered in that help build the tension of the film if you’re paying attention.
All in all, I really enjoyed this latest addition to the franchise. I also think you can easily watch this installment of the series without having seen the original films. It finds creative ways to fill you in or remind you of what all has happened in the past.