Vampire Owl: I have heard about this particular person.
Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you know the Candyman.
Vampire Owl: Yes, he used to give us sweets in the cemetery.
Vampire Bat: So, he was then called the Sweetman?
Vampire Owl: He was surely not sweet. He was nowhere close.
Vampire Bat: This is actually news for me. Usually witches give sweets.
Vampire Owl: Witches are no longer interested in the old style.
Vampire Bat: I hope that you are not going to summon the Candyman.
Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t I call him?
Vampire Bat: There is no reason why we need to have an extra monster around here. Even Uncle Dracula won’t like that.
[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of iced tea].
What is the movie about? :: Sherman Fields (Michael Hargrove) is known for giving kids candy and has a hook for a hand, often leading to the children being scared of him. He is accused of putting a razor blade in a piece of candy, and the police tracks him, beating him down mercilessly, as the man finally dies. Many years later, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is living a happy life with his girlfriend Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), and both are into different kinds of art forms. One day, her brother Troy Cartwright (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) tells them a horror story to pass time. It is about many brutal murders which occured in a city. It is related to the legend of the Candyman, but the story is distorted, blaming the main character of the story for everything terrible that had happened. Anthony hopes that he could do better with his skills in painting. He is asked to do better, as he has to be part of the upcoming summer show, even though he continues to blamed as standing where he had started after leaving the college.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Anthony goes to the place where these incidents had occurred and meets William Burke (Colman Domingo) who tells him the story of Candyman, who is originally Sherman who was falsely convicted and murdered by the police. It is said that if someone says “Candyman” five times to a mirror, his spirit can appear and murder the one who summoned him. Anthony is inspired by what he heard, and makes a Candyman-legend connected painting, “Say My Name”. But the piece of art is mostly ignored by the public, and is not appreciated by the critics. Jerrica Cooper (Miriam Moss) is the first one to try summoning the Candyman, and she is killed along with her boyfriend and art dealer Clive Privler (Brian King) at the art exhibition venue. At the same time, Anthony begins making strange portraits of unknown people. He becomes more and more obsessed with Candyman as well as the incidents which happened in the city, but it turns out that it could also be the other way around.
The defence of Candyman :: This sequel to a movie which most of us in this part of the world haven’t watched, holds its ground for most of the time. There is an interesting use of the properties in the movie too, and it never gets clueless like a movie which felt so similar – Black as Night. The story is told nicely, and we get so many clues about the antagonist in between, put before us in an interesting manner. There is also a social commentary related to this, even though one feels that it would have been more effective if brought forward a few years earlier. Saying a name in front of a mirror five times, and unleashing the murderer is quite an interesting thing. After all, we are all looking for different kind of monsters every time, and one more supernatural murderer can only do good here. By using the idea of a person with candy for children combined with brutal murders by a supernatural entity, things can only get interesting. A past that is ready to haunt all, and mystery that needs to be solved – both are here.
The claws of flaw :: One would expect this to be as good as Get Out, but this one pales in comparison to that film which seemed to have a similar background. Even though there is some twist present, most of these things are happening according to plan in a predictable manner. If we are to look for innovation, we can only be disappointed. The movie could have also had a psychological side to be added here, as the main character would have been a good option for such a thing. A murderer like this could have always been scarier, with better use of the darkness. We could have also had a fine murder investigation happening around here, instead of leaving the murders as they have been. There also seems to be a little too much of generalization of almost everything – people and worlds cannot be considered in a general manner anymore, as individuality has a fine role to play even in the days of globalization. The movie also had so many opportunities to add some horror here and there, and it hesitates on many occasions.
The performers of the soul :: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who played The Black Manta in Aquaman has the leading role here, and he manages the confused main character pretty well. Unlike what we feel in the beginning, he is not really the hero that would be expected here, and is rather the weaker character. There is almost nothing that is done from this particular character to make things better, successfully unleashing evil instead. Teyonah Parris seems to be the stronger and more intelligent character in comparison, but doesn’t serve that much of a purpose other than being the non-believer of the supernatural, until she comes of use in the final moments. Colman Domingo is the one who rises above all, and plays the one memorable character that we would have loved to lead a fight. Vanessa Williams has a rather small role, while Kyle Kaminsky and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett are rather irritating in their characters. Miriam Moss and Brian King almost strikes, but gets their characters dead soon enough. Michael Hargrove is notable in the small role too.
How it finishes :: Candyman comes as a sequel, and even though those who have not watched original might still enjoy it, an idea about the previous movie can only help the process of watching this one. This one does have its moments, especially in the beginning, as we are quickly moving towards what could be some big horror being unleashed by calling out the name. We have seen better movies dealing with similar elements of horror, but this one does manage to be divergent enough to catch our attention. There is no doubt about the fact that this could have been better, but it manages to go on without leaving that much to complain in between. After all, this movie also has its limitations, which it seems to have overcome with some clever writing adding in here and there. With an appropriate sequel, the movie could get rid of its problems to be unforgettable, for the scope is there, strong and premise has more in store for multiple films.
Release date: 27th August 2021
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Vanessa Williams, Rebecca Spence, Brian King, Miriam Moss, Michael Hargrove, Christiana Clark, Heidi Grace Engerman, Breanna Lind, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Torrey Hanson, Cedric Mays, Nancy Pender, Pam Jones, Virginia MAdsen, Tony Todd
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.