Since Candyman hit the big screen in 1992, the film (based on Clive Barker’s short story “The Forgotten”) has cemented its place in horror as the first Black slasher. In 2021, director Nia DaCosta’s 2021 sequel continues the story of the doomed Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd) and his legacy.
Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul Mateen) is a young artist living in Chicago with his curator girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris). They are both ambitious, but Anthony hasn’t had much inspiration, and his work is suffering. A dinner with Brianna’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) becomes a night of creepy tales as Troy recounts the quest of obsessed graduate student Helen Lyle to uncover the legend of Candyman, the infamous phantom known to terrorize the housing projects of Cabrini-Green which have now been mostly torn down and gentrified. Anthony becomes inspired by the story and investigates what’s left of the projects. He meets William (Colman Domingo), one of the last residents of the original buildings. It’s with William that Anthony hears of the wrongful murder of Sherman, a man who was thought to be a killer of young children. Anthony delves deeper into the urban myth, becoming obsessed with the legend, and creates an art installation that includes the invocation of Candyman. As his star rises, people are murdered, and Anthony becomes lost in the legend and legacy of Candyman.
There was a lot of hype for Candyman since the pandemic delayed its release, and it has since divided audiences. Still, the continuation of the Candyman legend is something most horror fans desperately wanted to see. With a slick visual style and intense performances, there were as many delighted fans as unsatisfied ones, with reviews and think pieces running the gamut of opinions. Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld co-wrote the film with DaCosta, and Peele’s Monkey Paw Productions and the Canadian Bron Creative backed the film. Candyman is DaCosta’s second feature film, and it also made her the first Black woman to have a #1 film at the box office. Love it or hate it, the legend of Candyman is here to stay.