Shaun’s review published on Letterboxd:
Candyman (2021), directed by Nia DaCosta, and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Paris and Colman Domingo is a contemporary, sequel-ish movie to the classic horror of the same name from 1992.
First, the praise. Abdul-Mateen is a talented actor and did a great job in Us and Watchmen, and he plays a good protagonist and I hope he gets more roles. Since I first saw him in Fear the Walking Dead, Domingo seems to be getting better and better.
The soundtrack is actually quite decent. It feels like a faithful homage to the original film’s soundtrack by Philip Glass.
And now the bad. I don’t mind the sort of Peele humour you find in Get Out and Us but I don’t think it’s fitting in the Candyman universe at all. Half the time this Candyman is a comedy, which makes it feel like a parody. Of course, this makes the movie impossible to be scary!
The other half of the time it feels like a film with a message, a social commentary on the institutional racism that exists in America. I want to state I’ve never felt political sub-text in a movie is a problem before. Please don’t label me as a triggered libertarian, man-baby, but I really feel it’s way too forced here. By the end, they are practically ramming it down your throat. The message is not subtle at all. Honestly, it’s all a bit embarrassing.
In fact, the script is a complete mess. The story is so minor, it’s not even worth discussing (Dorian Gray elements??). Just to state, I don’t mind sequels that subvert audience expectations (The Last Jedi is my favourite from the new Star Wars trilogy), but the plot feels rushed, jumping from one scene to another without any fluidity, and the finale is such a disappointment, especially when taken into consideration everything Helen struggled for in the original. I’ll just say that they use a lot of cgi. I actually stood up in my living and shouted “Oh god, the horrible cgi! Why?! Why?!!!!!!”
So yeah, I’m pretty sure they had some major issues on the cutting room floor.
The first two sequels are shite and throwaway and whatever, but there’s more or less some shallow fun to be had. This film actually made me depressed, I’m not even joking. It had so much potential and it just feels like DaCosta squandered it with a script that is half-baked and thematically all over the place. In short, Candyman is full of commodified politics, and as a horror, it’s not scary at all. The story is a mess, and has no reason to exist. Crushingly disappointed 😞