This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Brandon X’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This film is perfect.
I'll start there, and I must say, I was in pure awe the whole run-time. Nia DaCosta's motion-picture of pure horror absorbed me. You coast as a viewer watching this, as the film goes for a slim hour and 30 minutes.
And, my, my, Nia DaCosta doesn't waste a single-second. The editing on this project is simple, which gives the story and actors the ability to form "the Universe" needed. There's not extremely dramatic editing occurring, nothing is dragged out.
I watched the movie three times in 2 days---I was more impressed with each viewing. Ms. DaCosta is giving these old-white guys a run for their money, quite literally.
I must congratulate the Filmmaker for making history: She is the first Black-Female Director/Screenwriter to have a #1 film at the Box-Office, EVER.
Quite an achievement, and it needs to be celebrated, universally. We need more Black Filmmakers, we need more Female Filmmakers; and we certainly need more Black-Female Filmmakers.
Not compartmentalizing people, I'm pointing out a very new and rare achievement within film--I hope it happens again and again, to the point where it's normal. DaCosta had me more pumped up while watching her film than Jordan Peele did with 'Get Out' or 'Us'. I mean that. I salute her. Her film is awe-inspiring, and it doesn't cut corners, nor does it sugar-coat its horror. And the shortness of the picture adds to the quality, because you just want it to continue.
There's very little exposition, and only hints toward the also perfect 1992' film. 'Candyman' is now my favorite slasher-franchise. The IP was somewhat incomplete til' Nia DaCosta's new version.
Ms. DaCosta's vision, wow, it's so vibrant, symmetrical, and she knows exactly how to handle heavy action and a heavy script.
Her management here was miraculous. Every frame, I mean every one, has a purpose, and it achieves that respective purpose each time.
This is not shading the rest of the film, but I gotta say, man, my favorite thing about this movie is the opening-credits: there's so much glossiness, symmetry; metaphors are all throughout those credits. They give you the vantage-point of looking up at the clouded-sky while inversely standing, seemingly making the sky-scrapers touch the heavens. One of the buildings eerily resemble a Bee-Hive.
I was explaining to my friend how this is a "Reboot-Sequel" and he chuckled and was confused. But, like 'Halloween' 2018, Candyman ditches its Part II and III, and just bounces the focus strictly on the first film. All while implementing a more complex mythology, off-springs of the infamous Daniel Robitialle. In the original, and its older sequels, Robitialle wreaks terror upon anyone who speaks the name: 'Candyman', 5 times in a mirror.
The new motion-picture incorporates various "Candymen" who share the supernatural horror of Daniel Robitialle.
The primary focus of these other ghosts is Sherman Fields played by Michael Hargrove. He steals the show, truly. However, EVERYONE here steals the show.
Teyonah Parris was brilliant as Brianna Cartwright; I learned of her in 'WandaVision' this year. She was kind of confined to the PG nature of 'Disney Plus', but in this film she has more depth, more darkness, more drama that surfaces with her character and the script she's been provided.
The script is a masterpiece by Jordan Peele, Nia DaCosta, and Win Rosenfeld. DaCosta's directorial execution is immaculate, never have I seen a director take a pre-existing IP and revamp it with such tenacity and wit.
I was stunned from start to finish--the cinematography by John Gulesarian shines wonderfully, yet it retains the grimy and gritty crispiness of the original.
On the front of costume and production design, they are nearly flawless. Candyman's look really respects Tony Todd's design, yet it has its very own signature.
I refuse to spoil this film any further.
Now, the lead here, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is outstanding as Anthony; he's a superstar in the making. Haven't seen an actor take on so many roles with such fresh takes in such a short time, really.
I'm a big fan of Mateen, especially his take on Black-Manta in 'Aquaman' as well as Doctor Manhattan in the 'Watchmen' series by HBO. I saw his portrayals in both of those projects, and he really did a swell job there. I knew immediately then he was going to do wonders. 'Candyman' has given him a canvas to express great drama and tragedy.
His character is the protagonist, and we see the story from his perspective mostly. Mateen's delivery goes a long way here. To revive a 90s title like this, it had to be difficult, especially with "less seasoned" actors. However, everyone involved put in tremendous effort and showed their true potentials, providing a truly masterful American Tragedy.
The film comments on De Facto and De Jure Segregation, while also going over notions of Gentrification quite a few times. Robitialle's story was more a commentary on miscegenation and the post-slavery South, in which blacks were treated just as harshly as they were during Slavery yet without the ostensible chains present. It's a love-story at its core. Robitialle loses so much, so tragically. He becomes the Candyman by fate, not by choice; and his thirst for revenge and retribution in those films was poetic in many ways, if you look at it from that character's perspective.
DaCosta does that here---we get a lot of the backstory of the Supernatural figure, and we get a lot of slow-moving looks. Yes, Mateen's character is the foundation of the film, but we get a good-bit of the mythology of Candyman; it's almost subversive. The Candyman is painted more as an Anti-Hero, and less as a villain---we're meant, in a way, to root for him; there's also themes delving into relations between the impoverished black communities and the police forces, and the consequences of that when they're sour for so long. Why won't some wounds heal, this film asks.
Corruption is hinted at. The role of the artist in modern-technological society that still has particles of racism in it; one of the white characters even says that artists just poach on disenfranchised neighborhoods, seeking cheap rent so they don't have to keep a day-job. But, the statement is subliminally referring to black-artists themselves from a "gentrified" white-lens, mind you. The film addresses racism so elegantly it's amazing---yes, we still need racial-commentary in film, I think. 'Candyman' 2021 made me question my society, not with anger, but just with an innocent "Why?".
I love films that make me question myself, my surroundings, and what I believe, feel, and think. This new film does that. Its the best film I've seen in 2021. My only gripe with it is it should've come out back in August 2020 when it initially was supposed to before COVID hit really bad, globally.
Either way, we got it now, and I suggest it to all age-appropriate viewers.
Horror is back. So is Ca...
Oh, I forgot, DON'T SAY HIS NAME
The point of this film is to say that injustice has consequences. The Dead can redeem themselves....
The mythology of 'Candyman' has adapted a Byronic nature to it: the Black-Community, in the story, has created this figure of horror to keep outsiders in check, and to keep those within the community from committing horrors themselves, or snitching, or slandering. To summon the dead, rather scientifically real or not, isn't right; that's the point of this tale.
However, what's even more wrong than summoning the dead is....killing them in the first place, especially unjustly with evil intent.
Remember Trayvon Martin. Remember George Floyd. Remember Emmit Till....
Remember, BLACK LIVES MATTER. And, they always have, they always will. The Dead still have a say---
Watch this film, and I hope you feel the same conviction and moral ambiguity that I did, while also gaining a new insight.
God Bless Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele. They've created something new, fresh, inventive, and very much needed in the film industry.