"Candyman" review: who can take a sunrise and sprinkle it with blood?

The first time Crochet Ghoul Candyman hit the big screen was in 1992 and he was making minced meat with folks from Cabrini-Green, Chicago...


The first time Crochet Ghoul Candyman hit the big screen was in 1992 and he was making minced meat with folks from Cabrini-Green, Chicago’s struggling social housing complex. Since then, residents have left (or have been moved) and more than a dozen buildings have been shaved. Forgettable sequels have come and gone too, but Candyman remains, with cult movie characters a more enduring and certainly more prized commodity than affordable housing.

The original “Candyman”, written and directed by Bernard Rose, is more disgusting than scary, but it has a real sting. It centers on the son of a former slave – Tony Todd plays the demon title – who, once upon a time, was punished by racists for loving a white woman. Now he wanders to slice and dice those who summon him. Just look at yourself in a mirror and say your name five times (oh, go ahead), and wait for the blood to spurt out. Among those who did at the time was a white doctoral student who becomes a hot victim. The pain wasn’t exquisite, as Candyman had promised, but it had its moments.

In the lively and shivering remake directed by Nia DaCosta, Candyman appears to be on hiatus. The time is the present and the place is the candle community that has developed around Cabrini-Green. There, in elegant towers with designer kitchens and walled windows, the bourgeois avant-garde sips wine while taking in the views. Beyond, the city sparkles nicely and its ailments are a good distance away (if not for a long time). The agitated camera synchronizes the scene, and Sammy Davis Jr. – a touchstone of black civil rights turned supporter of Richard M. Nixon – girds his sticky 1970s hit “The candy man” (“Who can take tomorrow / soak it in a dream”). It’s a sneaky reminder, and a warning, that the past always clouds the present.

Sometimes the past also bites the present where it hurts, and soon after that the initial calm has been violently upset. As blood begins to flow and the death toll rises, the story takes shape, as does the somewhat tense domestic life of a painter, Anthony (a very good Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and a curator, the aptly named Brianna (Teyonah Parris). They soon learn that Candyman never left (well, this is a valuable franchise property). Enter the scares and the screeches and the anxious laughter, and the essential reliably Colman Domingue, who appears with a Cheshire cat smile. There are also flashing police lights which are not as inviting as they could be elsewhere.

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Newsrust - US Top News: "Candyman" review: who can take a sunrise and sprinkle it with blood?
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