Candyman ★★½

Didn't find it as didactic or overdone as some, in fact the precise and often playful direction is enough of a highlight to be sorry Dacosta's in the Marvel machine, but falters in structure and focus especially in its finale which isn't necessarily "bad" but with the way it glosses over its brief setup and changes some of its own rules feels like it's from another type of horror film. As someone who found the original a little wonky in political viewpoint or character, I even find this ensemble a lot more engaging and sometimes relatable (consider how the first film's lead lady wouldn't have gone "Nope!" to an ominous staircase). But as the film continues it loosens its grip on what exactly it's trying to showcase, with arguably counterpointed ideas to its concept. My personal favorite loss being the early arguments of an artist's integrity to its subject as showcased by the leads exhibition and somewhat developing fame. The direction here also excels in concise approach, taking its visual cue of mirrors as far as it can go without feeling too draggy, and often framing things interestingly. Definitely a horror film I enjoyed the style of the most, not necessarily despite its subject but one where I wish a tighter draft or one where everyone agreed where it should go was presented.

MVP to Manual Cinema's terrific puppetry work which, and I don't mean as a slight on the rest of the film, is quite the visual accomplishment of this film.

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