This week on "Justin Hall At The Movies," I'll be reviewing what happens when you say his name five times in "Candyman."
Candyman is the latest installment of this series despite having the same name as the original and yet it contains a lot of effective suspense, blood-soaked moments and even some social commentary that might a little too bit on the nose, but that doesn't detract from the experience.
This sequel stays true to the premise, but does update it in an attempt to be somewhat more socially relevant. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a artist living with his girlfriend (Tenoyah Parris) in Chicago and he's artistically challenged to come up with a new idea until he hears about the urban legend known as Candyman.
The Candyman's story provides him with the artistic inspiration he needs and it showcases the backstory of the Candyman's evil deeds through ominous animation sequences that add a sense of weight and creativity to what the Candyman has done before and hints at darker things to come.
Soon Candyman's story gets out and people all around begin saying his name in front of a mirror five times before being killed in bloody fashions.
The artist's girlfriend doesn't believe in Candyman and that's one area the movie doesn't succeed by giving us a tired old cliché of the characters not believing in the supernatural entity until it's too late.
Director Nia DaCosta who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jordan Peele of Get Out and Us fame is terrific by simply not giving us gory scene after gory scene. Instead she builds the tension and gives the movie enough time to establish the characters as well as setting up the events so we know what to expect and then she lets the gore fest begin.
The movie's only weakness is its social commentary which to me seemed ham-fisted and while some may find it intriguing, I just thought the movie could've given us much more interesting ideas if it try to be so self-consciously socially relevant.
Still, I do recommend it largely for it's eerie atmosphere, fantastic direction and script from DaCosta, and chilling performances to carry it from the beginning to the end.
This spiritual sequel proves that horror movies don't have to be dumb to be scary.
(Rated R for bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.)