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Candyman A Social Justice Thriller

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Source: Cineworld

Nia DaCosta’s sequel to the 1992 Candyman film is a thriller that doesn’t beat you over the head with social justice themes. I was very excited to see this movie since the first one was so good and so scary. We’re back learning about the original Candyman story who was brilliantly played by Tony Todd. Candyman was a wronged man tortured by white people once he fell in love with a white woman and he then eventually became a spirit that kills people who were wronged. The site of all the drama is back in Cabrini Green in Chicago. This time the story is about a painter Anthony McCoy played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who struggles to find his muse until Anthony’s girlfriend Brianna Cartwright played by Teyonah Parris brother, Troy, played by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett tells the story about Candyman. Anthony then goes to learn more about the story and gains inspiration from it. Anthony’s life and those around him begin to change.

Source: Universal Pictures

The director, Nia DaCosta, does a great job in connecting to the original movie by adding William Burke played by Colman Domingo who informs Anthony about the story of Sherman Fields who was wrongly accused and killed by police in 1977. This is explored after Anthony was bitten by a bee, while doing research in Cabrini Green checks his hand that is becoming infected. He eventually begins to see things and unexplained murders begin to happen. Anthony finds out that he was born in Cabrini Green and lived there as a baby and questions his mother about it. His mother, Anne-Marie McCoy played by Vanessa Williams explains the events that took place when he was a baby and how she just wanted him to be “normal.”

This movie has some jump scares and gore, but really comes off as a thriller. As we go along with Anthony on his journey, we see that most of the people in the art world feels that Anthony’s girlfriend has brought him this far and they don’t hesitate to belittle or demean his talent. This is something that black people experience when in predominantly white spaces. It wasn’t until Anthony’s art was tied to controversy that the art critic who told him that he was a fraud since he was painting about the projects now feels that his pieces are interesting. The social justice commentary does not hit you over the head but subtle. Candyman touches on childhood trauma and how if not dealt with it can affect your future and your life. William, Brianna and Anthony have suffered through childhood trauma, and all had suppressed it until Candyman came into their lives.

As sequels go, this could’ve been stronger, but it was still entertaining. It’s not as good as the original but it stays true to the original story. Strong acting by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo were all strong leads. The pacing of the movie was slow and had I been at the movies I might have fallen the asleep. The third act picked up the pace and that is where we get the commentary about the police and how they act first before asking questions or assessing the situation. The ending makes sense, and you get the feeling that there will be more to come.

Did you see Candyman? Do you think it was as good as the original? Let’s discuss.

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