After a yearlong delay due to the pandemic, studios are releasing their blockbuster films in theaters. But the one many are anticipating is Nina DaCosta’s horror sequel/reboot of “Candyman.” The film sees Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a visual artist who has a connection to the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood where the Candyman once tried to sacrifice him when he was a baby. So, he uses his traumatic past as a basis to maintain his status within the Chicago art scene. But by doing so, he unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
In the original “Candyman,” the killer was a ghost of a son and a slave who was murdered in the late 1800s for his relationship with the daughter of a wealthy white man. But DaCosta is putting a relevant twist on the mythology by having the Candyman of her film as a local who handed out candy to kids. However, when kids find razor blades in the candies, the police immediately suspect it to be the Candyman. As such, they brutally murder him without due process or questioning. A few weeks later, it is revealed that the police made a mistake as more razor blades are found in candy.
Social commentary has always been a fabric of the horror genre. So, reimagining the character against the backdrop of years of racial injustice makes sense. While changes to the story are expected, I wonder if fans of the original films will embrace them. Of course, this is just a trailer, and we will have to see if the final product can match the hype. But based on what I am seeing, I am sold.
Here’s the official plot synopsis for “Candyman:”
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo also star.
“Candyman” opens in theaters on August 27, 2021.