Candyman is being marketed as a “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror classic starring Virginia Madsen and Vanessa Williams. One of the themes in DaCosta’s script is that the endless violence perpetrated on Black bodies by White supremacy. The tagline of the film reads, “Dare to say his name”, intends to echo the current movement against ill-conceived and lethal law enforcement. The 1992 version features Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), the original film, but is primarily focused on the White protagonist’s fate. Horror has always been a channel for burying unspeakable stuff under the viscera and unreality.
Introduction to new Candyman
Candyman (2021) is a “spiritual sequel” to the horror film Candyman (1992) set in the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend originated. Although, one wonders, how Sherman Fields’ unjustified “murder by cop” will compare with Daniel Robitaille‘s “death by honeybee”. The film’s continuity makes us wonder when Tony Todd will appear, with Michael Hargrove being a compelling shadowy threat. Alas, the core of this new movie is how it links to the old film but it lacks that extra something.
In the opinion of critics, Candyman is more sour than sweet.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in a scene from Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta.
Candyman takes an incisive, visually thrilling approach to deepen the franchise’s mythology – and terrifying audiences along the way. The lousy and inconsistent narrative arch thus lands up several critics.
Some of the critics are:
“Candyman falls into its own derivative critique of race and class”, says Sarah-Tai by theglobalandmail.com.
Adam Graham of Detroit News says that “Candyman lacks a center as well as grounding’’.
Robert Daniels from polygon.com says that “The new Candyman was modernized for the wrong audience”.
Some critics, on the other hand, found the movie lacking, soulless, lousy, and a Didactic Reimagining.
The film struck between a sequel and a reboot, or a failure.
The critics also mention that the film keeps between being both a sequel and a reboot, ultimately failing at both. While the actors do their best with the “tell don’t show” moralizing and stilted dialogue, it is a bit tedious. The need to make this film akin to the previous Candyman creates an odd connection whereby it implicitly (accidentally?) argues that Black artists and Black professionals are as guilty of gentrification as the white folks who created the systems of oppression. It’s a weird message.
The film features explicit callbacks and a narrative that connects to the 1992 cult favorite. It also seeks to reinvent mythology. The movie even offers up a “new” origin story for the film, with a strong elevator pitch (one of the scariest beats takes place in the elevator) that makes the hook-handed slasher an enduring symbol of white-on-black violence. Candyman relaunch tore between a straight-up reboot and serving as a legacy sequel.