While almost every beloved horror classic has received the reboot treatment, Candyman is the type of story that could realistically be reinterpreted every few years and still feel relevant. The adaptation of Clive Barker’s story deals with themes pertaining to racism and inequality, and as long as those injustices still plague our society, Candyman will remain a powerful horror tale.
When it comes to socially charged horror in the modern era, Jordan Peele has proven himself to be one of the most interesting voices out there. He’s creating bold and original scare fare that resonates with the masses, and that makes him a perfect candidate to help tell a new Candyman story.
Of course, this isn’t just Peele’s movie. Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) co-wrote the script and directed the film, and if this trailer is anything to go by, she’s about to make an impact on the horror world in her own right. Check out the footage from the new movie in the first trailer below, then join me as I break down some of the most memorable shots.
The core premise of the original Candyman remains intact for the remake/spiritual sequel. If someone says his name into a mirror five times, he’ll show up and make them regret their words. In this scene, he has just massacred a group of high school students who don’t think the legend is real, so that’s on them for being so stupid. Just like in the original, bees appear prior to his arrival, buzzing around like omens of death. Furthermore, if you look into the pocket mirror, you’ll see the Candyman and his hook.
Cut to Cabrini, several years after the events of the original movie. As you can see, the neighborhood has been gentrified to the point that it’s barely recognizable in its current iteration. That said, it’s evident that the movie will tap into some of today’s social concerns, so don’t expect some soft reboot that’s trying to cash-in on people’s nostalgia.
While the new movie takes place in the same universe as the first film, the plot is familiar, albeit with an entirely different central character. Like Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen in the original) before him, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is obsessed with getting to the root of the urban legend. In this scene, he discusses his work with a colleague, explaining that he’s working on a story about Candyman and how mirrors play an important part in the legend. More than anything, though, this is just a cool shot that reinforces the trailer’s catoptrophobia-based imagery.
Following a montage of several characters speaking his dreaded name, Candyman emerges from the shadows to claim his next victims. It’s also interesting to see Candyman in an art gallery, given that he was an artist in life prior to being brutally murdered for falling in love with a white man’s daughter. Maybe being around art will reignite his passion for the craft, though it’s likely that he’ll be more interested in decorating the walls with people’s blood.
One of the theories going around is that Anthony is an ancestor of Candyman, and this scene seems to support that idea. While it’s possible that Candyman is just messing with him, it’s evident that there is some sort of connection between the pair. Is Anthony controlling him? Is he possessed? Who knows what’s happening here, but it’s intriguing.
In another familiar callback to the Candyman lore, here’s the Hamlet phrase that appeared a couple of times in the original movie. The juxtaposition of blood and graffiti in a holy place like a church is a haunting image, but the phrase has significance to the legend as well. While the connection to sweets and Candy is obvious, the original William Shakespeare refers to death. In this universe, any time candy is referenced, it’s in association with the macabre.
Candyman opens in theaters on June 12, 2020.