Candyman Review: Nia DaCosta Scares Up A New Mythos Creating A Horror Classic That Dives Into Race, Black Art, And How We Tell Our Own Narrative

By Evan L. Jackson 

“I think this was a bad idea, coming here.” As I jokingly, yet seriously considering why I came through to scare myself, said this to my friend Savannah Williams as I nervously was twisting my ball cap watching the new “Candyman” film. See as I kid the orginal would seldom come on late at night (Damn those TV programmers!) and I turned it right away. Didn’t want nothing to do with it! What drew me to this new iteration was the combination of Nia Da Costa’s sharp eye as the director, the genius of Jordan Peele who serves as executive producer with his Monkeypaw Productions on board, and the dynamo acting of Yahya Abdul Mateen II and Teyonah Parris.
How did this all come together and how well did it scare me? Well the new lore of this film made it worth watching.

Set in Chicago and neatly squeezed in between the art scene and how it’s seen through the lens of the Black artists was the fascinating aspect of the film. Adding to the horror of it all: criticism of your art as being ‘passé’ even though it’s a honest reflection of your Black counterparts and not good enough to be deemed worthy by white gatekeepers. Now that’s scary! As Yahya’ character navigates the art world he seems to be drawn to the story of #Candyman 🐝 and the horrific string of racially charged murders of Black men who’s spirit has lived on with Candyman. Yahya’ character Anthony as each scene goes
on is a true artist then suddenly he breaks. He BECOMES the art piece and the subject of Candyman. Every mirror he sees Candyman in himself, a mirror image of a tortured soul that is part myth , part misunderstood, part horror folklore. 

With creating this new folklore Director Nia DaCosta beautifully utilizes the city of Chicago as character within the film. From the ritzy high rises to the spacious dark toned streets that serve as a ominous feel to the baren Cabrini Green neighborhood that feels intimate, narrow, tight and quite soffocating which makes sense for the perfect scare moments. The classic horror scenes even give you an interesting scope as one scene is shown through the makeup compact of a high school bathroom. As seen in Nia’s “Little Woods” she does great with making a small space have a big impact. 


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