Before you read this review, please go to a mirror and say, “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman.”
With that out of the way, I can gush over the update from Nia DaCosta. Side note: Nia DeCosta will be directing future MCU films, which, judging from her work on CANDYMAN, is a “marvelous” thing.
But before we talk about the new CANDYMAN, I need to set the scene as to why this horror classic shaped my childhood. Cut back to circa 1992, a 12-year-old version of me was at the La Mancha racquetball club in Glendale, Arizona. I was with my older stepbrothers and younger sister. The older kids dared me to go into the restroom, turn off the lights and say “Candyman” five times. Still to this day, I remember the dirty smelling bathroom. It was a combo of older men, aftershave, and sweat. I looked in the mirror, gathered the courage to turn the light off, and said “Candyman” four times. As I was about to say it a fifth time, I felt something touching my skin and crawling on me. In full-on panic mode, I turned on the light and saw a fly that I thought was a bee buzzing around me. I ran out of the restroom, didn’t sleep for a week, and vowed never to say “Candyman” in the mirror again.
Nineteen years later, and still with a fear of bees 🐝, cut to me in a darkened theater alone seeing the splendid updated version. While the original was far gorier and perhaps scarier, the new one has more to say about traumatized Black Americans in the U.S. With odes to Breonna Taylor’s “Say Her Name,” the film proves that “a pain like that, lasts forever.”
Variety Critic, Owen Gielberman is spot on describing the new version stylistically feels like something from Brian De Palma. The mirror shots and mood-setting prove that Nia DaCosta has done her homework. However, audiences will have to forgive her for a few narrative flaws and a slower-paced film. Yet, even with these faults, this modern-day retelling of the Clive Barker classic is easily the best horror film of 2021.
It’s available in theatres.