Candyman ★★★

If my critique was based on visuals alone, it would be 5 stars. The cinematography of the moody and glossy tones presenting the gentrified Chicago, world’s away from the grimy Cabrini Green of the 90’s is tantalizing. The use of mirrors for the kills is an impressive stunt as you watch hooked victims be torn apart in their reflection. It’s a gimmick but a well executed one. The script is where it all crumbles. There’s a struggle between committing to the lore of the original film and the new commentary it wants to add. There’s this cliche Candyman prophecy that Anthony (Abdul-Mateen) is fulfilling yet at the same time, the legend’s thesis is anyone can be Candyman because he’s a representation of racism and socioeconomic trauma. The finale is underwhelming and abrupt. It feels like we missed the scenes that led us to Cole Domingo becoming a demented purveyor of the dark arts. Plus the ultimate transformation of our protagonist to Candyman is dreadfully flat. You want some kind of showdown or grand spectacle of his power yet he just slashes some cops and calls it a night.

I love these actors but Anthony is frustratingly passive. That’s intentional at first as he’s an artist searching for his voice but with him coming into his prophecy, he becomes less and less of a character. Parris brings a lot of pathos to the girlfriend role but her checkered history with tortured souls comes off shallow. I feel like I’m asking a lot from Candyman and it’s hard not to have high expectations with Peele’s name in the credits. I’m intrigued by the specificity of the art world and the dialogue it wants to have with Chicago’s history and the millennial generation. It’s ultimately better than a lot of studio horror remakes but falls short of the greatness it has potential for.

Megan liked these reviews