CANDYMAN (2021) is a “spiritual sequel” of the iconic 1992 horror movie of the same name. However, it’s also a very classic sequel since we continue in the very same universe. And yes, it lived up to my expectations – and then some. Read our full Candyman (2021) movie review here!

CANDYMAN (2021) is back and we’re still encouraged to “Say his name!”. Preferably five times while looking into the mirror to summon him. The key, however, is to keep his name alive as we learned in the 1992 movie. You can’t be much of an urban legend if nobody hears about you.

The 1992 movie had two sequels and became a trilogy of sorts. Just ignore the two sequels and focus on this one which is called a spiritual sequel. It’s also just a normal sequel that takes place almost three decades after the movie before it.

More important is the fact that most of the cast and crew are made up of black talent this time around. I mean, honestly, it was pretty strange that this mythical character attacked black people. After all, his origin story was that he was a black man tortured and killed by white people. Wouldn’t he then be going after white folks? This is (in part!) the angle explored this time around.

Continue reading our Candyman (2021) movie review below.

Strong and relevant update

In many ways, we’re getting the same story that was covered in the 1992 movie. This time the main character is an artist (mostly painter) and he’s drawn to the Candyman-myth. Just like Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) was drawn by the myth back in 1992, when doing a thesis on urban legends.

The main protagonist, Anthony McCoy, is portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and he does an excellent job. I wasn’t too crazy about him in James Wan’s Aquaman (2018). However, I did love his performance in the brilliant Watchmen TV series. Also in the Black Mirror episode Striking Vipers and in Us (2019).

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I should also mention that both Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen are in this movie. Obviously, the two actors take part in a somewhat different way due to the events of that original movie. Especially as far as Virginia Madsen is concerned.

Candyman (2021) Review – Horror Sequel

Catch more details by watching the 1992 movie just before

No, you don’t have to watch the 1992 movie before watching this 2021 Candyman. However, you’ll catch on to a lot more details if you do. I loved the original movie and have watched it many (many!) times. Just not recently, so I made a point of watching it the day before the press screening. I was very happy that I did!

Sure, you will undoubtedly have an easier time guessing elements of the plot. Then again, it’s hardly a secret since the same spoilers are in the trailer.

One thing the trailer reveals is the fact that Vanessa Williams is also back. Even more so than Tony Todd (Hell Fest) and Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out). Vanessa Williams is as ageless as she is fierce and I loved the scenes with her. They’re pretty late in the movie and I honestly think they should have kept her out of the trailer and just used it in the film.

Watch Candyman (2021) in movie theaters!

Nia DaCosta is the director of Candyman (2021) and delivers on solid craftsmanship. She is currently directing The Marvels (the sequel to Captain Marvel from 2019), due out in November 2022. In other words, you may hear Jordan Peele’s name a lot, but he didn’t direct this 2021 update of the Candyman story. It does have a very strong Jordan Peele flavor vibe, though.

Much in the same way that movies produced and/or written by James Wan tend to still feel like a James Wan movie. Even when he doesn’t direct. This is not to talk down the work of Nia DaCosta but rather to point out that this movie has the qualities you’ve come to expect for Peele genre movies.

The script was also written by director Nia DaCosta along with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld (who always produces with Peele). Also, Clive Barker is obviously credited with creating the characters and the 1992 writer-director, Bernhard Rose, gets credit for having created the movie that this is built on.

Stay seated and watch it all…

There is an “end credit”-scene, of sorts, that plays out along with the credits (they each get a side of the widescreen). In many ways, this shows all of the elements that created the mythical Candyman figure. I would definitely recommend that you stay seated and watch this. You’ll notice the stories referenced if you’ve been paying any sort of attention to both the movie and US race politics.

As entertained as I was – and however important and more on-point, I found the movie to be – the story isn’t without weak spots. Or a few plot elements, I wish had gotten covered better. Well, just more really. Then again, the runtime is just 91 minutes, which makes for a strong and intense movie, which I liked.

To me, the movie does lack the classic Jordan Peele edge. I understand the need to maybe dial it down a little to get more people on board, but I think they could have pushed it further. You can’t have it all, I suppose, and what we do get is pretty damn awesome!

Candyman (2021) opens in US movie theaters on August 27, 2021, and then it will be released On Demand from September 17, 2021.

Details

In Theaters: August 27, 2021 (USA)
On Demand: September 17, 2021
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: Nia DaCosta
Writers: Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld
Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, and Tony Todd

Plot

For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright, move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.

With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina