Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini-Green, and after a chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.
There are several horror movies in cinemas now. Some are intelligent — not just about scares or slashing. CANDYMAN (2021) is one of them. It’s a sequel to the 1992 movie of the same name. It’s not necessary to have seen the first one to appreciate or understand the second one. It provides enough history for it to stands alone.
Jordan Peele, who has previously brought us GET OUT and US, is one of the co-writers of the screenplay for CANDYMAN (2021). So, if you’ve seen them, you won’t be surprised that this movie continues the exploration of injustices perpetrated on African American people and the lasting trauma it wreaks. The messages are very overt but wrapped in a scary, supernatural, satirical, horror story.
Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) is the director and brings a deftness to the horror that makes the experience of watching it very intense. And the disturbing shadow puppets that are used to tell some of the story are amazing. The success of CANDYMAN (2021) makes DaCosta the first black female director to have a film finish number one at the box office in the US and Canada (Wikipedia).
There’s lots of violence, of course, but the violence is necessary in conveying the horror of its thematic material – the social structures that oppress Black people.
I came out of the cinema tense and confronted — not only by this expertly told horror fiction, but by being reminded again of the racial injustices that historically have, and still do permeate our society. Brilliantly chilling. And what does that last line in the movie really mean?
(In cinemas in Australia – check your movie guide for your local show times.)