Nia DaCosta’s “Candyman” will make you never want to say his name

Nia DaCosta’s "Candyman" strays away from a lot of the horror and focuses on building the plot first. Photo by Chris Grasser | The Signal

This modern-day interpretation of Candyman will leave viewers never wanting to say his name again.

This 2021 horror film is a sequel and a fresh take on the 1992 film, directed by Nia DaCosta and written by the critically acclaimed Jordan Peele. Despite this movie being a continuation of the original Candyman, the ending of DaCosta’s version suggests that this legend has made his comeback for good.

The film stars Yahya Abdul Manteen II as Anthony McCoy, a talented artist struggling to create more meaningful art than his past work. Parris plays McCoy’s girlfriend, Brianna Cartwright, who is an art gallery coordinator.

Although audiences may have expected this to be frightening, fun romp will find a more grounded film. This movie focused primarily on building up the plot and looking at the growth of all of the characters. There was nothing overtly scary about the movie for the first half.

As the foundation for this story continued to build throughout the movie, the stress began to build for McCoy’s character. He finds himself obsessive in his research about the history of Candyman and the gentrified Chicago neighborhood called Cabrini-Green. 

A perfect representation of this is a bee sting McCoy’s character gets in the film. The character thinks nothing of it, but the viewer can track the physical changes to his body throughout the film. 

Coleman Domingo plays the laundromat owner, William Burke, who was also quite eager to fill McCoy in about the horrors he witnessed as a child. Burke goes on to describe the chaos caused by the original Candyman, better known as Sherman Fields. Burke represents the origins of the Candyman story. 

Director DaCosta and the rest of her team did a great job using puppetry to tell the story. These images worked as visual aids and gave viewers a look at the legend’s history that the 1992 film used as inspiration. It’s a good call-back and serves the tension. 

Once McCoy’s exhibit opens, the plot starts to thicken, and the killings begin. McCoy’s work creates a craze amongst the public, leading to some in disbelief trying to summon the real Candyman. The film’s tension rises and leads to an explosive finale. 

However, the film does not explore the traumas of its characters in depth until the film’s ending. These traumas play a vital role in the story, and the lack of exploration they receive can leave viewers feeling cheated out of character development.

Still, the film presented a fun and scary ride, even if its characters were less than developed. Regardless of its execution, this film definitely has enough gore and fear to make anyone stop eating their food and never say his name again.