Why Are The Reviews For Candyman 2021 So Positive?
Nia DaCosta’s aesthetically stunning reimagining of the legendary 1992 film adds a meta art-world twist.
As part of her study, a white female doctoral student examined the Candyman storey and the place of his haunting — Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing complex – in Bernard Rose’s original 1992 horror film. Jordan Peele co-wrote and produced Nia DaCosta’s clever, stylish “spiritual sequel,” which reimagines its heroine as a Black artist. Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) gets his artistic inspiration from a storey about a murderous ghost that comes when his name is said five times in the mirror.
From the way she depicts flesh dissolving to rotting honeycomb to the visceral squish of pushing open a cut, DaCosta’s visual flare is evident. Candyman’s attacks are also cleverly staged, taking place in the reflections of floor-to-ceiling windows and a tiny mirror held by a teenage girl. Anthony’s paintings “concentrate on the body,” a self-aware reference to the director’s own penchant for body horror.
DaCosta’s Achilles heel is his wry knowingness in the overall tone. Anthony’s work uses “a fairly literal approach,” says a snobby white art critic (Rebecca Spence). “OK, but how is it affecting you?” he asks, expressing concern on behalf of the director. Meanwhile, Anthony’s girlfriend, Brianna (Teyonah Parris), a gallery owner, is lauded for her “vision for fresh talent,” a reference to Peele’s support for DaCosta. This continual meta-commentary, as well as the inclination to anticipate criticism, becomes irritating after a while.
Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now-gentrified Cabrini several years after the last of the Cabrini buildings were demolished. Anthony learns the actual tale of Candyman after a fortuitous encounter with an old-timer. He unwittingly unlocks a door to a complex history that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrible tide of violence in his studio, eager to utilize these gruesome details as fresh grain for paintings.
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