Say its name, because Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is a knockout hit that builds upon its 1992 namesake and places the lore in the hands of the phenomenal Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris. This is how you do a sequel.
In present day Chicago, struggling artist Anthony (Abdul Mateen II) and his partner (Parris) live in a gentrified luxury loft tower in Cabrini. He soon is exposed to the true events behind the Candyman story which both inspires his art and begins to consume him, leading to unspeakable violence and realizations. Writers Joran Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and DaCosta have dome something with this “spiritual sequel” that we have yet to see in a decades-later follow-up, crafting a story that reinforces the first film by further fleshing-out the story details and adapting the tale for modern audiences. Each turn of the plot is intentional and impactful, buoyed in social commentary that is focused on racial disparities involving gentrification, policing, and more. At a tight 91 minutes, DaCosta’s Candyman is ripe with frights, suspense, and intelligence from start to finish.
Abdul-Mateen II and Parris are flawless in their performances, their chemistry emanating from the screen every step of the way. Both continue to elevate their craft while simultaneously delivering purely impassioned turns in every film. We also are treated to the well-placed humor and talents of Nathan Stewart-Jarrett who lightens the mood every time he enters the room. DaCosta exploits the talents of the entire cast (Colman Domingo and Tony Todd included) to craft a film that is as powerful in its entertainment level as it is in its dissection of systemic racism. The director cements herself as a powerhouse filmmaker with Candyman, which is simply a fantastic film.
Candyman hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from Scream Magazine