When CANDYMAN was released in theaters this past August, it was a sigh of relief on my part. The original film was a huge part of why I love the genre so much especially as a kid who grew up in the Chicago suburbs during the 90s. We all knew of Cabrini Green and the reputation it had. It represented a lot of falsehood of how some viewed Chicago in general, but the film added both a supernatural and humane aspect to it. The supposed remake was announced and the details were vague on the story. The anticipation only intensified as Covid hit and most movie releases were indefinitely pushed back. The new CANDYMAN was something I looked forward to as an adult, but I had an issue at home that had me concerned.
Earlier in the summer, a really bad storm hit and my dog, Daisy, hadn’t been the same since. While physically everyone was okay, Daisy’s mental state took a bad turn after that storm. She wouldn’t stay asleep at night, constantly scratching at the doors and panting at the bedside if I fell asleep. She used to be fine being left home alone for a few hours, but she began this habit of clawing at the walls. Eventually, we got her a kennel as she chewed her way through a door so she could hide in the basement which she knew she was not allowed in. She left alone for maybe thirty minutes only to come home and find blood all over the kennel and floor. Daisy had attempted to chew her way through the kennel, knocking one of teeth out and damaging her paws. The inside of the kennel legit looked like a blood bath.
After some vet visits and a new diet, I was determined to see CANDYMAN opening night. I had waited so long for this and Daisy was doing so much better, though we had been home more often as she couldn’t be left alone. We saw the movie, loved it, and came home to find that Daisy had destroyed the bathroom door. It was all clawed up as if she were desperately trying to get to whatever was inside it and didn’t care that her paws were bleeding. Her safety was clearly a concern and it only made it scarier that this happened while watching a movie about a ghost that is summoned through bathroom mirrors.
We haven’t left her alone since for more than an hour, but the anxiety of that evening came back when I found a copy of the 4K home release of CANDYMAN sitting on my porch. I loved the movie and the fresh perspective it brought, but would my dog be triggered?
Right away, I rewatched the trailer that had quickly gone viral, thanks to the new slowed-down interpretation of a certain Destiny’s Child classic. I remember going crazy when I realized this movie was actually a sequel due to a certain character reappearing. Like an asshole, I kept making social media posts referring to this and questioning why this wasn’t being used in the marketing. After watching the movie, I realized that connection was being utilized as a major plot twist during the second act. Oops!
Director Nia DaCosta brings us to a modern-day Cabrini Green which is actually pretty accurate in the film’s observation. The 4K release helps bring that vision to life as DaCosta went for a more vibrant presentation than the original. Neon lights at art galleries shimmer across the screen, looking their best when blood is shed. There’s plenty of body horror imagery here and the gruesome special effects get their dues in UltraHD. In terms of audio quality, Universal has made the best decision by including a Dolby Atmos track. The entire movie comes to close from beginning to end, utilizing all speakers throughout. Composer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe created a score that incorporated sounds from Cabrini Green and it soars around the room constantly. Bees buzz behind the ear as death comes approaching and the bass kicks in as soon as those opening credits roll. The technical aspects here are top-notch.
When it comes to the special features, there are multiple short videos with the cast and crew covering multiple areas of the production. However, the main attraction here is “Candyman: The Impact of Black Horror,” a roundtable discussion on the themes the movie touches and their relation to current events.
My biggest gripe with DaCosta’s CANDYMAN is that it feels like the second half was chopped up. Some character developments go from A to C without any kind of transition. While I love how the last sequence plays out, it does feel rushed. I’m curious if there’s an extended cut somewhere as this is one of the rare instances where a movie actually needed to be longer than 90 minutes. There’s some interesting background that’s touched on, but there’s not much closure on that. The alternate ending focuses on Teyonah Parris’s character and I felt it kind of brought her some peace versus the film’s actual grim ending. The deleted and extended scenes included don’t add much of anything as they are merely additional dialogue. The film enjoyed major box office success so if an extended cut existed, then I think it would have been included. Unfortunately, CANDYMAN probably suffered from preproduction choices that affected the shooting script, preventing it from being a great movie instead of just a good movie.
Overall, CANDYMAN is a well worthy successor to the original, focusing for the first time in the franchise on the Black perspective. The three previous films were from white filmmakers focused on white characters peering into Black lives. A commentary from DaCosta would have perfectly rounded out the set, but the visual and audio components make CANDYMAN a haunting home viewing experience.
And no, my dog didn’t go for the bathroom door again.
CANDYMAN is now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment