Candyman (2021) Universal Studios 11/16/2021
Directed By: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Teyonah Parris, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nathan Stewart-Jarett, Colman Domingo and Vanessa Williams
Nia DaCosta’s 2021 “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 Candyman is, outside of Halloween Kills (2021) probably the most anticipated genre movie for a lot of people, myself included. So, when I was invited to a press screening, I jumped at the chance to see it Tuesday evening. It was also the first time back to the movie theaters in almost two years. 1992’s Candyman had a pretty big impact on me in terms of early horror cinema (I was seven at the time of its release). Just like in the movie, the myth of saying Candyman’s name in the mirror became fodder for maybe childhood dares. I only mention this because this is because the original is a movie that I firmly grew up with and had it planted in my grey matter. Hell, I even met Tony Todd a few times. But, as always, I am not one for hyperbole and I will give you my totally honest and un-bought reflections.
Visually, this movie is creative and at times, downright stunning. Production designer Cara Brower (who is currently working on The Marvels with Nia DaCosta) really does a jaw-dropping job. Brower and DaCosta clearly put a lot of love and careful consideration with the entire films look and feel. Little details are sprinkled throughout making repeat views a must. Keen eyed viewers will notice the colors yellow and various browns are expertly and meticulously incorporated. Even the shadow puppet silhouettes are cleverly echoed in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ways. As someone who has seen a lot of film, I certainly can tell when a lot of thought, care and love go into a project. Candyman is an oppressive feeling and stylish tour-de-force. Cinematographer John Guleserian (who is working on the infamous “Cocaine Bear” film) does some pretty bombastic camera work that feels like it vibes with this off-kilter world that DaCosta has crafted. Furthermore, the score, sound design and cast are all excellent.
Candyman (2021) is no doubt a staggeringly beautifully crafted movie that sadly feels weighed down by its pacing and screenplay. You will no doubt read reviews that this is the greatest movie ever. Candyman will please a certain sub set of fans, namely people of a certain age that enjoyed the original film. However, the movie is narratively messy. What we’re left with is a movie feels very much like film with creative ideas saddled with studio mandated trappings. Also, seeing it with a crowd, not a single person screamed or even startled which isn’t a good sign for a what at the end of the day is a horror film. Candyman is still a powerful movie but sadly, at the end of the day, this is an interesting yet very messy confection.
Picture: Candyman is a damn impressive looking film on UHD. The HDR grading provides a image with deep blacks and vivid colors. Details like costumes, costume textures, locales and sets are really sharp and you cannot help but be in awe. What I love about this film is, its a really visually haunting and I think that this razor fine looking transfer shows you all of that in extreme depth. Noise and grain levels are also rendered fine to nearly non-existent. What fans are left with is a clean life-like picture.
Sound: Candyman's Dolby Atmos may be a contender for among the best Atmos track of the year. Like the visuals, this movie has a staggeringly amazing sound design and score. This track has a amount of depth and total immersion really helps capture that magical theater-like experience. Huge and robust this track helps heighten and utilizes jump scares.
Extras: Candyman has a lot of great bonus features including: Alternate Ending (2mins), Deleted/Extended Scenes (Play All option -runtime: 5mins), Say My Name (6mins), Body Horror (6mins), The Filmmaking Eye: Nia DaCosta (4mins), Painting Chaos (7mins), The Art of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (4mins), Terror in Shadows (4mins), Candyman: The Impact of Black Horror (20min)