Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: contains violence
Virginia Madsen as Henry Lyle
Tony Todd as Daniel Robitaille/Candyman
Xander Berkeley as Trevoy Lyle
Kasi Lemmons as Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Walsh
Director: Bernard Rose
Intrigued by local legends, Helen (Virginia Madsen) investigates the myths and superstitions surrounding the one-armed Candyman (Tony Todd). However, she confronts her worst nightmare when a series of murders start taking place.
With a follow up to the original Candyman meant to be coming, I had decided that I should check it out. I had heard about the horror movie for some but only knew a small number of things about it, such as that the Candyman had a hook, he’s summoned if you say his name 5 times in front of a mirror, and that somehow bees were involved. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, I went in blind and it turned out to be actually pretty great. It’s an effectively creepy horror movie but also had some layers to it that I wasn’t really expecting.
Based off a short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, Candyman is certainly one of the more unique movies of the slasher genre. The first half of the movie is Virginia Madsen’s character doing some investigating of the Candyman and his history, and I was on board with it. Movies about urban myths don’t always work, but it actually works to great effect here. It also leads to an insane second act, which I won’t talk about too much as it is better watching the movie without knowing too much. While it is a slasher movie, it’s not as focused on the violence and death compared to other slasher movies (especially around the time of its release), even though it can be quite brutal and gory. At the same time, it does a very good job at getting under your skin and creeping you out. Not only is it a good horror movie, but it’s layered in social, economic and racial themes, that give this movie so much more. It thematically rich and there’s a lot to explore in this movie, and it is genuinely creepy at the same time. At an hour and 40 minutes in length I was invested in the story from beginning to end.
Virginia Madsen is good in the lead role, you are on board with her as she tries to unravel the mystery of the Candyman. While you don’t see him often, Tony Todd is great and nothing short of iconic as Candyman. He has such an incredible on-screen presence, and you even feel him always there when he’s not on screen, his voice is a huge part of that. The character himself is also fantastic, I won’t go into it too much for those who don’t know it, but he has a well put together backstory. The rest of the cast are pretty good too.
Candyman was directed very well by Bernard Rose. It’s a great looking movie, the cinematography from Anthony B. Richmond really sucks you in. There are some gruesome and unforgettable imagery, and not only when it comes to the death scenes. The makeup effects are fantastic. One of the highlights of the film was actually the score by Phillip Glass, which is nothing short of euphoric. The score was truly something special and added a lot to the movie, giving an incredibly eerie atmospheric feel throughout.
Candyman was far better than what I was expecting it to be. It’s a well made horror movie, with an unsettling yet subversive and thematic script and story, it’s directed exceptionally well, and the cast are great, especially Tony Todd. It’s been on my mind ever since I watched it, and has held up very well considering it came out in 1992. It is definitely worth watching, especially if you are a horror fan. I’m very interested to see how the new Candyman movie will turn out.