Flick is interestingly both sequel and reboot of the classic 1992 film of the same name. The movie finds Chicago artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) returning to the now vacant and gated Cabrini Green projects, to add some spooky spark to his creativity, after hearing of the Candyman legend. Anthony learns the hard way to ‘be careful what you wish for’ as he evokes a malevolent entity and bodies start to fall. Even worse, Anthony begins to transform into something out of urban legend. Is the Candyman more than just a folktale and has he returned for new blood?
Delayed sequel is directed by Nia DaCosta, based on her script with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld. Their script, in turn, is based on Bernard Rose’s classic film, which itself is based on a Clive Barker short story The Forbidden. As a horror film, Candyman has disturbing imagery, very graphic gore and make-up, and some chilling sequences, though is never really all that scary or suspenseful. Where it really succeeds, aside from DaCosta’s flare for visuals, is in presenting some very well rounded characters, and as scathing social commentary. DaCosta, Peele and Rosenfeld not only give us some three dimensional characters to like and become emotionally invested in, but have some bold commentary on both gentrification of urban neighborhoods and the treatment of the black community, especially by police. Candyman is no longer just an urban boogieman, his mantle is picked up from generation to generation by innocents who have faced brutality and injustice at the hands of oppressors and by those who are supposed to protect them and their rights. There are no punches pulled and it’s blunt honesty adds the power to the proceedings that the lack of strong scares did not. The cast are all very good, especially lead Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the flick has it’s disturbing moments and the gore FX are quite well-rendered when blood flows. It is as a film with a strong message, however, that is where Nia DaCosta and company really breathe new life into a classic horror icon.