DanielSegal’s review published on Letterboxd:
Legends are also gentrified
What makes Candyman a classic horror movie? The fear people have of black people. The fact of repeating the name candyman 5 times in front of the mirror and fearing for our own death makes the character a vivid metaphor to existing racism and prejudice. We can't even pronounce or allude about an Afro-descendant that he will step out of the mirror and kill whoever is in front of him. The simple mention of a black man who is following you or is in your shrinking and will soon chase after you makes the movie's metaphor for racism extremely eloquent and creates a perfect analogy for the topic to be exhaustively debated. The irony here is pulsating.
Therefore, Talking about the character and the movie Candyman ended up being always touching on the subject of racism and racial segregation. In his first and most acclaimed film, which became a cult horror but which ends up being the stage for political and urban discussions, Bernard Rose managed to build a story behind the legend. The myth was slowly being created and carved out. Chicago's marginalized neighborhood was well placed on the film's screen. The horror of the film made in the 1990s was precisely to see the junction of a frightening figure mixing with the equally frightening precarious situation in which the black community found itself, all coming together with an anti-hero's thirst for revenge
However, in the new Dacosta film, the director is clearly on the fence, as she is not sure whether she is paying homage to the classic nineties film or is continuing the story of the first film and trying to "repair" any possible mistake that had been made. At this point, this blur creates a big and confusing mess, as the figure of the mythical character keep loosing strength. Terror loses its premise and everything seems like a big patchwork quilt. In the first movie, the deaths were practically premeditated. There was a ghostly creation behind every scene where Candyman appeared. His figure was mysterious. In the 2021 film, the suspense gives way to, perhaps, even a caricature figure, an anti-hero who becomes an ordinary person, without causing fear, affliction or anxiety in the audience, characteristics that a classic movie character cannot lose.
The film's protagonist's fixation and obsession with discovering the origin of the myth that terrifies the people of Chicago seems hollow and shallow, with no real reason for his inclination. In the end, it seems like a simple curiosity and not a quest to find the big subject that runs through his life, as if his very existence depended on it.
However, what seems to have gone wrong the most was the excess of exposition that the first nineteen film did not have to resort to. Bernard Rose, By showing Cabrini Green Projects, its inhabitants and the precarious situation of the housing complex, just by looking at it, it was possible to understand the message behind the scenes of the film. The debate formed almost naturally. In the new movie, the rare images of what the marginalized neighborhood has become, within the gentrification process, onlye gave rise to a debate within the film between its own characters. There is such an unnecessary scene that the protagonist seems to want to explain to the viewer what the gentrification phenomenon is and how it can be translated into racial prejudice. This type of resource within the cinema makes fun of the intelligence of who is receiving the message, as if we needed an additional content to understand the whole and makes the audiovisual content get lost quickly. Social criticism consequently loses virtually all its force. A waste, as it is such a delicate and important topic.