By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor
*This review contains spoilers for “Candyman”*
“Candyman,” a reboot of the 1992 classic of the same name, traces the legend of a man who, if called five times in a mirror, will appear and kill you. The legend behind the infamous supernatural killer is that he was once a 19th century Black artist who was murdered by white men after falling in love with a white woman.
The film was directed by Nia DaCosta, who wrote alongside Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld. DaCosta made history Tuesday as the first Black woman to have a film hit number one in the American box office chart on opening weekend. The film grossed an astounding $22 million, which was higher than expected.
The modern depiction follows the life of Anthony, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Anthony is a painter living in Chicago who struggles to find his place in the art scene, a world he feels is dominated by white artists. To his girlfriend’s dismay, he becomes engrossed with the legend of Candyman to the point that it completely consumes his art and his life. Anthony goes on a trail to uncover the actual story behind the legend and discovers that the neighborhood he was born in, Cabrini-Green, is where the original Candyman lived. This discovery exposes his deeper connection to the legend and his part in Candyman’s history.
Anthony’s girlfriend, Brianna, who is played by Teyonah Parris, tries to stop his obsession and bury the legend.
Cabrini-Green, a housing project in Chicago, was near the setting of an actual murder that was used as inspiration for the original film series. The murder drew attention to the inequality and racial injustice occurring at that time.
Although the remake differs from the original, it focuses on the same principle that predominately minority communities and voices are often overlooked and forgotten. DaCosta said the movie attempts to paint that as being the deeper meaning behind the legend of Candyman. DaCosta said the film looks through a gentrification and urbanization lens at how that has impacted the Black community both then and now, which she drew from the original “Candyman” movie.
“It’s all about my name is to be remembered, my story is to be remembered — by this community in particular,” DaCosta said in an interview with the New York Times. “Because the community doesn’t exist anymore and gentrification changed the demographics of the community.”
Going into the movie, I did not know what to expect, and I think that allowed me to view the movie from a unique perspective and accurately judge the movie based on solely what I saw on the screen.
I enjoyed the movie but I noticed that it strayed from Peele’s original format of psychological thrillers, which may be partially due to his other writing companions. I feel that it wasn’t scary nor did I leave the theater trying to interpret what I just watched. There weren’t any cliffhangers or unanswered questions – the movie left no stone unturned. For some people, this may be a good thing. I, however, enjoy movies that leave endings up to interpretation, because it fosters intriguing discourse.
If you are looking for a movie that doesn’t contain jump scares and won’t leave you confounded once the credits roll, I would say “Candyman” is perfect for you.