Candyman has been one of the most striking films I have seen this year! It is a must-watch for horror and thriller fans alike. From Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions comes a truly electrifying experience that once again breathes new life into the genre. Directed by Nia DaCosta, Candyman examines how the trauma of racial violence can never be forgotten within the minds of its affected communities, beautifully explored on the backdrop of a psychological thriller.
Like previous films from Monkeypaw Productions, this movie has an outstanding cast. I loved Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as our protagonist Anthony McCoy, an artist who becomes enthralled in the legend of Candyman – say his name five times in a mirror and he will instantly kill you. Teyonah Parris does a phenomenal job as Anthony’s partner, who is shaken by Anthony’s spiral into obsession. And I can’t forget to mention my favorite characters, played by Nathan Stewart and Kyle Kaminski, who have some of the funniest scenes in the film to relieve tension from an otherwise serious story.
By far what gives this horror film more nuance than most is its fleshed-out social commentary, from examining how gentrification is ignored in upper-class communities to assessing the belittlement of Black voices in artistic communities. Truly, the most terrifying aspect of Candyman was not its most gruesome scenes or its jump scares (of which there were exceptionally few) – it was its very real look at the deep-rooted trauma that lingers in Black communities. Much of this compelling narrative pays respect to its 1992 predecessor and explores its themes and concepts to their fullest potentials.
As stated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in a USA Today interview:
“Candyman is a story about unwilling martyrs and about how the victims of violence are often turned into monsters and then not given a voice, and their stories are taken and controlled from the outside… With our Candyman, we’re hoping to take back the narrative and the stories of our trauma from a place of victimhood and move it to a place of agency.”
To dive fully into its social commentary would be to give away too much, but it is indeed wonderfully crafted. Accompanied by beautiful cinematography, a delightfully unsettling score, and some striking special effects, Candyman is a horror movie that certainly offers a wholly unique experience. I can’t spoil the ending, but its final moments are mesmerizing to say the least. A chilling experience.