I know I have watched the original Candyman, but I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about it, and yet I gave it the same rating on my Letterboxd. I was excited for this film going in, Jordan Peele’s involvement in the film is heavily marketed, no the director of Get Out and Us didn’t direct Candyman, but he did write and produce, and writing is what he won an Oscar for so that is what you should be excited about.
Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is an artist looking for inspiration when comes across the story of Candyman and uses it as inspiration, but, before he knows it becomes entangled with his own version of the legend.
I was aware somewhat of the reviews were mixed but I never look into reviews more than whatever I happen to come across on social media. And when the film got going about half an hour in, I was loving it and would’ve been willing to give it a 4.5 or 5 stars. I was genuinely confused. Then it got to the final act and I realised exactly why it was as highly rated as it I thought. There were a few moments throughout the movie that just felt like if they were in the hands of a more experienced horror directors, like Jordan Peele, James Wan or Ari Aster, that creep out audiences and scare them and know to perfect those jump scare moments. I don’t want to disrespect Nia DaCosta too much, she did a really good job on the most part and it’s a solid job for her second feature film, and continuing to work with people on the level of Peele will certainly mean that we can look forward to some really good films from Nia DaCosta in the future, although I will take this level of film when DaCasta is reunited with Teyonah Parris in The Marvels.
But before I get onto the cast, the worst thing about this film is the end 15 minutes. The film is a short one coming in at 91 minutes, but completely rushes the ending as if it’s trying to get it from being too long. It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling it but there’s something that just comes out of nowhere with very little set up and doesn’t work. Give me more time setting up what happens, make sure the character motives are aligned with it so it doesn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s during this point that the focus of the movie switches heavily to following one of the supporting characters when we have spent so much longer with the lead and the lead is pushed to one side.
But back to the cast, because yes it’s written by Jordan Peele, we know that’s going to be good. But if you didn’t know Yahya Abdul-Mateen II you really should, his star has been on the rise for a while and even his role as Black Manta in Aquaman, wasn’t enough to gain him some stardom but I think it was his great performances in Watchmen and The Trial of the Chicago 7 that has got studios talking, and his performance in this continues that trend, he gives a great intriguing, deep performance of this lost artist trying to find a voice. I can’t wait to see him in more, and thankfully it won’t be too long to wait when we see him in The Matrix Resurrections later this year and Aquaman 2 next year. The other 2 big performances come from people I was not aware where in this or recognised them when I saw the trailer. Teyonah Parris, who we saw earlier this year in Wandavision, really impressed me in the Marvel universe and does a good job bouncing of Abdul-Mateen. I also really liked Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, who doesn’t have a big role but I want to see more of having recently just finished watching the first season of Misfits.
Overall, Candyman might be the best horror I have seen so far this year and certainly has to like about it and have a good time with hard hitting performances but suffers from a weird ending, which ruins the film, preventing it from being one of the best films of the year.
What did you think of Candyman?
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