Fearful Friday: Candyman (2021)

Candyman (2021)

It’s Friday, but let’s pretend it’s Terror Tuesday. I went to see Candyman yesterday and I want to talk about it. (No Spoilers)

The Movie Going Experience Itself:

Before Candyman (2001), the last movie I saw in a theater was Spies In Disguise on December 25, 2019 at 4:45pm. I have been sorely missing the movies.

Sitting in a comfortable seat, the huge screen, large bucket of popcorn with extra butter, Dolby surround sound, Peanut M&Ms, movie trivia, trailers. It all felt wonderful.

For a good 15 minutes, we were the only ones in the theater. Others, of course, did arrive and we masked up. By coming attractions, I forgot the mask was on.

Thoughts On The Movie Itself:

I had a good ole time (see above). I enjoyed the original Candyman (1992). Helen Lyle, a white graduate student researching the urban legend, visits the Cabrini Green housing project to study her subjects up close. Hilarity ensues. Not really. She finds what she was looking for. The movie touched on a lot of themes but its main goal was to create a new monster ala Jason or Michael Myers.

“Want to hear a scary story?”

The new Candyman takes place in the present. Thanks to gentrification, the housing projects have been torn down, fancy buildings have gone up, there’s probably a few Starbucks in the mix and a Whole Foods on the way. This time the seeker is Anthony, a black painter who is looking for new inspiration for his work. You see, the black trauma from two years ago – the last time Anthony sold a piece – is so boring now. His audience, symbolized by a white gallery owner, is looking for something new, fresh (pain). Interestingly, Anthony comes to Candyman through his initial interest in Helen Lyle’s story.

There are a lot of themes and theme nuggets here: gentrification (it’s your fault, no it’s your fault!), personal trauma, racial trauma, the art world/art criticism and black trauma, there’s some interesting gender stuff happening… t’is a lot. It’s the kind of movie where, after every scene, you can pause (if you were streaming) and it could start a great conversation.

I can easily imagine the conversation between the gallery owner and Anthony mirroring conversations between the writers/producers/director in creating this movie. “It’s been 29 years, we need to give people something new, something fresh. It needs to be the essence of Candyman for a 2021 audience.”

Like most horror movies, the story itself has some lapses in logic. Or, at lest, another 20 minutes or so could have been added to help smooth out some motivations. I would have changed up the ending completely … Anywho, no spoilers!

There is death – boy do people die! – but it’s not an excessive amount of gore (to me). You don’t see a lot of slashing up close but there is blood. I don’t know her mind, but the director – Nia DaCosta – probably felt she had to blunt potentially gruesome scenes. If you are trying to make a point about violence/trauma being a boon to the art world – in your horror movie – I think it’s hard to turn around and put “excessive” violence in the same film.

And there is something that happens in the movie that’s supposed to be a big reveal that I guessed months ago (thanks trailer!).

Still, I had a ball and want to see it again. This time, from the safety of my sofa.

A few other scattered thoughts I had during the movie – not in any particular order:
*The Candy Man can? Starting right off with foolishness.
*Oh, this looks really good.
*Hey, gay people!
*How does he even know that story?
*Going to bed with the curtains open? Are they even going to turn off the light?
*Murder is an excellent career boost.
*She deserved that.
*People only discuss gentrification this much online.
*He saved her life.
*I knew that.
*The doctor must not see what we see – he needs a full exam.
*Art world, publishing world, all entertainment and “culture producing” industries are probably this way.
*Didn’t see that coming.
*Engage in the work? Absolutely not.
*All these people need therapy. Hell, I probably need therapy. Damn.
*I want to write about this, let me dust off my blog.

Published by Tawanna

Sometimes writer, most times editor. Lover of mysteries and 70s/80s horror movies. Author of The Next Girl (short story collection) and The Closet Case (mystery).

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