The long-awaited revamped version of the famous 1992 horror movie, “Candyman”, premiered in theaters on Aug. 27 to great success. The movie topped the domestic box office with over a $22 million dollar gross earning over the weekend, demolishing its projected debut numbers. As for the movie itself, “Candyman” should serve as a modern precedent for how to create a horror movie with amazing social commentary while also being entertaining and scary.
The movie begins with amazing worm’s eye view shots of the buildings of the Cabrini-Green area, which mirror the bird’s eye view shots of the original, this time updated with modern upper-class apartments instead of housing projects. We are introduced to our male and female leads, Anthony, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Brianna, played by Teyonah Parris, who live in the modern area where Cabrini-Green once stood. These two lead characters are characters with realistic ambitions that you want to root for throughout the runtime.
The cinematography in this movie is amazing as every shot gives a unique perspective of the scene. Tony Todd as Candyman is only seen through mirrors in the movie, which creates amazing visual effects as Candyman is hunting his victims. Some of the best shots in the movie include shots where Candyman is only slightly visible in a background mirror or reflection. One of the many standout shots is the shot of Anthony seeing himself as Candyman in the mirror. This is both hilarious and frightening, cutting to Finley (the critic) coming out of the bathroom behind him confused about what he’s doing, while Candyman is present behind her in the mirror of the bathroom.
Another great aspect of this movie is the shadow-puppet storytelling scenes used to tell the urban legends prominent throughout the film. These storytelling techniques create really good visuals and help anyone who needs more context to understand the film. When the characters in this movie are telling these stories, they often slightly differentiate from the stories we see in the original 1992 movie. This comments on urban legends as a whole and how they change from generation to generation, depending on who’s telling them.
The secondary antagonist of the film, William (the laundromat owner), has very questionable motives. The purpose of his character was to act as an older, wise figure to guide Anthony to learn the legend of Candyman, but a huge twist mid-film revealed that he planned on killing Anthony and making him the next installment of the Candyman legend. The movie gives no clear motive as to why William would spend decades of his time waiting for Anthony specifically to show back up to Cabrini-Green, and then go through all of the trouble and danger that he put himself through to execute his plan. It seems forcibly evil when no real bystander would do all that just to keep a legend going.
The new blockbuster film has many highs that keep the film afloat, such as the intricate shadow puppet scenes and important social commentary. Despite this, other aspects of the movie drag it down and keep it from being a perfect modern horror movie, like the questionable motives of William Burke as well as an abrupt ending that makes the movie feel incomplete. Nevertheless, Candyman is an exciting movie to go to and enjoy with your friends all Halloween season. It will surely revive the legend in real life just like it did in the universe of the movie.