Candyman is a 2021 horror/slasher drama sequel to the 1992 film of the same name. The film is directed by Nia DaCosta. The screenplay credit is shared by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfield, and Nia DaCosta. Candyman is inspired by Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden.
Anthony Macoy, an artist trying to find his ground, lives with his girlfriend, Brianna Cartwright, in Cabrini Green. Brianna is a known personality and a successful art curator. One evening Brianna’s brother Troy tells them about the legend of Helen Kyle. He tells them that Cabrini Green was haunted as Helen Kyle was burnt there.
Anthony, at the same time, is trying to find some inspiration for his work. He meets William Burke while strolling in the area. That’s when he comes to know about the legend of Candyman. He gets so inspired by that notion that he decides to personify it into his paintings. He says that he had never been so sure about any idea before. Brianna argues that more than finding his inspiration intriguing or exciting, she finds it utterly painful and that too in the literal sense. His macabre artwork gets displayed in an exhibition, and that’s when the chain of events starts.
The Legend of Candyman
A black man falls in love with the daughter of an influential white man. He is tortured in a manner that would make even our worst fears seem paltry. Daniel Robitaille, also known as the Candyman, was a fictional character in the short story, The Forbidden, written by Clive Barker.
But this film broadens the scope of the legend symbolically. The symbolism of pain serves as a backbone to the narrative. Candyman could be any black man from a long list of people, tortured, subjected to brutality, or unnerved by the callousness of a system that believed in White Supremacy. Sherman Field was one such individual. He used to give candies to the kids in the Ghetto. One day a blade was discovered in candy, and the Police made sure that Sherman’s notoriety became a known fact even if there was no evidential value to it.
William Burke, who was then a kid, went inside the Laundry in Cabrini Green, only to find out that it was used as a hideout by Sherman Field. The sight of a man coming out from a broken wall and offering sweets and candies shocks William, and he ends up screaming. It alerts the Police officials who were lurking in and around the premises to find Sherman. William never intended to do so. Even at the moment, he realizes that his knee-jerk reaction would lead to an act of despotism. But by the time he realized that it was too late.
Many years later, when he met Anthony, near that laundry which now stood abandoned, he knew instantly that there was something more than it meets the eye.
Who were Helen Kyle and her baby?
In the 2021 Candyman, it is told that Anthony Macoy was the baby who was kidnapped by Helen. Anthony was unaware of this fact until he started experiencing changes in his body after a bee stung him. His skin starts looking like it has been burnt. It starts from his hand, but slowly it increases throughout his body.
Till now, we thought that Helen wanted to sacrifice the baby, but it was not so. Anthony’s mother tells him that he had encountered Candyman once before also. Anthony was the “Chosen One.” Candyman wanted to sacrifice him, and Helen was trying to protect him. She gave him to the people and jumped into the fire to kill Candyman.
Candyman now returned to complete that sacrifice which he wasn’t able to do then.
Why did William Burke kidnap Anthony and Brianna?
William knew the cause of consternation in the community was an oppressive system that was unwilling to change. Candyman was not just a neighborhood killer but was an allegory that contained within itself a lot of pain that the black community had witnessed over the years. William says, “Candyman isn’t a he; Candyman’s the whole damn hive.“
The physical body could be burnt, but the pain is passed on from generation to generation. The wounds leave scars that shape an entire generation. William cuts Anthony’s forearm and puts a hook on it. He knew the Police would enter the premises and kill Anthony. He wanted that as that would lead to the resurrection of the Candyman. He wants the legend to live on and keep reminding people of the sacrifice and of the oppression. He wanted Candyman to live forever.
Brianna runs away from William’s hold and kills William. But the Police enter the area and shoot Anthony. They handcuff Brianna and take her in custody.
Why does Brianna call the Candyman in the end?
When Brianna is arrested, she is given two choices. Either she gives testimony against Anthony and how he orchestrated the murders, or she herself becomes the accomplice. She is unable to gulp it down because neither options were true. She feels she has no other option other than calling the Candyman. She looks in the rearview mirror and says Candyman five times. Anthony comes back from the dead and kills the police officials.
Why does Candyman say “Tell Everyone”?
The last few lines make it very clear that William succeeded in his plan.
“I am the writing on the walls; I am the sweet smell of blood. The buzz that echoes in the alleyways.”Candyman
Candyman did come back, this time personified as Anthony Macoy. He says that he is not killing innocent people. The system is far from innocent. He kills people who won’t even flinch an eye before murdering someone in cold blood under the pretext of law and order. When the strings of justice are controlled by the powerful, it is reduced to a mere mockery.
Candyman tells Brianna to tell the world about what happened today and the day before, and every day before that. He tells her to hold the system accountable because the rebellion should not fade amidst the high-pitched cries of oppression.
Is Candyman worth a watch?
Though the message purported here is quite important, there are still aspects where the film fails to deliver the kind of zeal and passion required to cater to such a strong subject. The narrative is stylized with some effective cinematography and shot design that is quite authentic. It feels as if the makers wanted to harpe upon a good selling point which led to the commodification of the subject matter. It does not hit you as hard as it should have. The dialogs are potent, but they are followed by flaccid sequences, such that in totality, everything the narrative has a feeble impact. The narrative neither dwells into the intricacies of the contemporary issues nor is as cogent and impressive as its inspirations.
Candyman is a breezy watch with its intent in the right place but somewhere lags behind in execution.
Candyman is a 2021 horror/slasher drama film directed by Nia DaCosta. It is inspired by Clive Barker‘s short story, The Forbidden.