Evan Ambrose’s review published on Letterboxd:
Omg, they played Shameika!
Nia DaCosta’s reboot / sequel is cursed by its 1992 original. Her direction here is so, so, SO strong when it comes to camerawork, composition — like WOW are the presentation of kills gnarly! — and its unconventionally daydreamy tone, that I would honestly consider her effort superior to the original if there were a Philip Glass score inserted in somewhere and if they banished its dependency for on-the-nose dialogue. Seriously, this follow-up basically just exists as some “spelled out” variant of its predecessor with all its copycat themes and now unambiguous messages being oscillated chaotically between so many elongated character harangues. From historical self-healing through vengeance / violence, real-life inspired expression through artistic fiction, gentrification as a result of white supremacy, and to innocence becoming a victim of truth, what here is being said exactly that the original Candyman hasn’t already expressed and better? The film’s janky plot also feels like a first draft, desperately in need too of a more natural length, and by the time the end of the second act reveals the film’s (yep, you guessed it!) first “big twist”, being one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to horror continuations, I sort of accepted its mundane and increasingly goofier course of events from there on out.
However, this reboot is probably more likely going to work for you if you’ve never seen the original, given how disappointing the similarities of the two are. Who knows though, if I were to ever rewatch this again, maybe I’ll come around to liking it as I did when I rewatched Bernard Rose’s Candyman. Nonetheless, as of now, Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld have somehow let me down with this script. Although, I’m so excited to experience DaCosta’s future projects because she’s got some serious style!