The original Candyman, from 1992, is one of my favorite horror films. As much a social commentary as it is a chilling, just-violent-enough urban legend, it’s stood the test of time in my mind amidst its genre brethren of shlock and awe. And now, old hook-hand is back for more.
Produced and co-written by Jordan Peele alongside Win Rosenfield, with direction by Nia DaCosta, Candyman looks to update the Clive Barker-inspired original for the 21st century. Not quite a full-blown remake or reboot, the new film has an artist (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) moving into a now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood--the same of the original film, with the former attracted by the old urban legends of a hook-handed killer summoned by repeating his name into a mirror.
You can imagine how things go from there.
Abdul-Mateen was recently phenomenal in HBO’s Watchmen, and Parris in the 2018 Barry Jenkins adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, and Vanessa Williams round out the cast, the last of whom featured prominently in the original Candyman. Furthermore, Tony Todd will be returning as the titular specter of bees and blood.
Given Peele’s eye for crafting relevant horror stories, I’m eager to see this update; whereas so many franchise revisits can come across as going through the motions, you get the feeling that a filmmaker like Jordan Peele wouldn’t be without options for projects. To see his involvement here should instill some confidence, and the continuity this film appears to uphold with the original makes the whole endeavor feel worthwhile.
Time will tell, when Candyman opens June 12.