As an early start to the Halloween season, “Candyman” comes to theaters to deeply disturb audiences.
“Candyman” is a gripping horror film about an artist from Chicago that becomes obsessed with an urban legend from his neighborhood. Anthony, the artist (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris), an art curator, put on an art show, in which he makes an interactive art piece where observers look in a mirror and say “Candyman” five times. According to the legend, this is supposed to summon the Candyman and kill whoever says his name.
Following the basic rules of horror, the horny couple dies first after trying to spice up their sex life with more danger by summoning Candyman, who has a hook for a hand and is accompanied by a swarm of bees wherever he goes. According to legend, Candyman started out as a nice old man who would give candy out to all the children of the neighborhood, but he was wrongly accused of putting razors in the candy and was beaten to death by police, turning him into the Candyman.
After the first summoning, Anthony begins to unravel in his obsession with Candyman to the point where he scares everyone in his life, even himself. He must either figure out how to stop this fascination from eating him alive or accept his fate as Candyman’s next victim. I’m a huge fan of the ‘obsessed artist’ storyline, so I was easily able to connect with this story.
The story was overall compelling throughout, giving a great continuation of the original from 1992. I’ve never actually seen the original, but a quick Google search showed me enough to know that the most recent version paid homage to source material quite a bit. The 1992 film is weaved into the story really well because in this movie, the original has turned into the urban legend that the characters know as Candyman. The new movie is very indicative of the modern day, as there’s talk of gentrification that is incredibly valid and timely personified through the character of the Candyman. Some characters see the Candyman as a solution to the gentrification of low-income neighborhoods.
There were a ton of jumpscares throughout that were terrific and also incredibly frustrating to be fooled by. Also, the use of mirrors as an instrument of horror is truly haunting and will make me think twice before walking in front of my bathroom mirror. The horror throughout is phenomenal, and there were times when I curled up in my seat genuinely terrified. The sound design made it seem like there were bees surrounding me at all times, and it was horrifying. Pro tip: Do not see this movie by yourself.
The main problem I had with the film was the ending, in which Anthony is on the brink of being fully consumed by the Candyman. It’s either because I didn’t see the original and therefore am missing something or there was simply too much the film was trying to resolve in the finale and I simply got disconnected from the story. Either way, the ending didn’t land for me and left me more confused than unsettled, which I don’t think the film was going for.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching this film. It’s a good horror flick with great acting and a compelling story — despite falling apart in the end — and it’s a great reminder of how much I hate bees. If you’re looking for a good scare early on this spooky season, I would highly recommend checking out this thrill ride.