Candyman review – there’s nothing sweet here

September 6, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Film Reviews


A missed opportunity that is all over the place tonally and deeply unsatisfying.

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A missed opportunity that is all over the place tonally and deeply unsatisfying.

It will be impossible for me to review the new Candyman movie without referencing the original. The classic 1992 horror film, based on a Clive Barker story, is still a pretty strong movie, and one that usually appears in plenty of lists from horror movie fans. The mix of urban myth, and relevant real-life setting, always makes for a great backdrop, and the original Candyman uses a high-rise estate, Cabrini Green in Chicago, to great effect, blurring the line between myth and reality for anyone familiar with that kind of setting.

An interesting setup in the first movie finds our lead Helen Lyle delving into the folklore of the Candyman legend, dragging the viewer into a terrifying roller coaster of events with some truly disturbing imagery and set pieces. However, the remake, which follows on pretty closely from the first movie’s events, fails to find anywhere near the intrigue and horror of the original, instead falling back into tropes and cliches.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the two, but with a film like Candyman, it’s always going to happen, especially when you can’t even be bothered to change the title from the first one.

This is definitely a sequel, as the events from the first film are recapped and referenced endlessly, but it falls into the same camp as The Suicide Squad. Is it a real sequel? Is it a reimagining? Is it a reboot? More importantly, does it give us anything new, or add to the mythos of the original? And sadly, it fails on every level.

The Candyman story is retold, through the art of shadow puppetry, and it’s just the same as in movie one. You still summon Candyman by saying his name 5 times in a mirror, however waiting times may vary, and there’s still the idea that there have been a few Candymen called up for service as time goes by.

Sure we have new characters, but they are so two-dimensional that they hardly strike a chord with the audience, and certain roles are in the script just so they can be murdered in the next scene, and even some of those moments are diluted.

Perhaps it was a budgeting problem, but there are an awful lot of deaths here that happen just out of shot of the camera. It may have been a deliberate decision, but in a horror movie of this kind, you do kind of want to see the kills. They show us some of the action, but a horribly shoehorned set piece in a school toilet actually serves no purpose in the narrative at all, and they also decide not to show us the massacre. Really, what was the point?

By the final act, we get a repeat of the first film with Candyman setting up a character to take a fall for his murder spree. The writing here has become so lazy, that when we do get a reveal of sorts, it is too late for it to be of any great relevance and it slips by unnoticed. This new Candyman lacks any of the dread and suspense of its 90’s counterpart, quite an achievement in itself, and adds very little to the franchise as a whole.

They should have probably just have gone for a complete remake, but instead, this weak watered-down sequel is a disappointment for fans of the original, and probably didn’t make a lot of sense for those that showed up cold to the party. There is so little plot or character development involved that it’s hard to care for anyone involved, and the stylized direction simply distracts rather than enhances the action. This was a missed opportunity that is tonally all over the place and deeply unsatisfying.

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