Home » Media »  Candyman

Candyman


Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "Candyman." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures)

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

NEW YORK (CNS) -- With his duo of recent films, "Get Out" (2017) and 2019's "Us," Jordan Peele has employed the horror genre as a vehicle of social commentary to both critical and popular acclaim.

Now he has co-written the script for the thriller sequel "Candyman" (Universal) with an eye to the same end. Morally, however, this latest project diverges widely from his earlier movies, and the upshot is unsettling.

In crafting a follow-up to the eponymous 1992 movie -- one adapted, like its predecessor, from the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker -- director Nia DaCosta, who collaborated on the screenplay with Peele and Win Rosenfeld, keeps the focus squarely fixed on her protagonist, Chicago painter Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Though successful in the past, Anthony is currently artistically blocked.

Searching for fresh inspiration, Anthony eventually finds it in his own backyard. Together with his cohabiting girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), Anthony lives in in a gentrified neighborhood that was formerly home to the Windy City's notorious Cabrini-Green housing project.

Along with other circumstances, a chance encounter with William Burke (Colman Domingo), a veteran resident of the once-deprived area, prompts Anthony to investigate the urban legend concerning the hook-handed murderer of the title that long prevailed among the denizens of Cabrini-Green. His interest in the grim but complicated story soon becomes obsessive.

Even from the start, the nature of this picture's antecedents makes the harnessing of a blood-soaked slasher flick for the purposes of satire feel like an unequal -- and therefore awkward -- yoking. By the time of its conclusion, however, "Candyman" has degenerated into a fantasy of racial revenge wholly at odds with Gospel values.

To have a rampaging killer unleashed on the fictional representatives of real-life injustice not only appeals to the audience's basest instincts. It also represents an unhelpful pseudo-solution to problems that require sensitive and thoughtful assessment.

Thus, unlike Peele's earlier work cited above, "Candyman" ultimately does little or nothing to provide viewers with insight or to advance dialogue in the real world about the vital topics on which it touches.

The film contains much gory violence, gruesome images, a vengeance theme, cohabitation, a benignly viewed homosexual relationship, drug use, a couple of profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, frequent rough language as well as considerable crude and crass talk. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

- - -

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

- - -

CAPSULE REVIEW

"Candyman" (Universal)

Searching for fresh inspiration, an artistically blocked painter (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who, together with his cohabiting girlfriend (Teyonah Parris), lives in a gentrified neighborhood that was formerly home to a notorious Chicago housing project, investigates the urban legend concerning the hook-handed murderer of the title that long prevailed among the once-deprived area's residents (including Colman Domingo). What begins, under the direction of Nia DaCosta, who co-wrote the script with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, as an uneasy blend of slasher film and social commentary degenerates, by its conclusion, into a fantasy of racial revenge wholly at odds with Gospel values. DaCosta's sequel to the eponymous 1992 movie, adapted, like its predecessor, from the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, thus unhelpfully appeals to the audience's basest instincts in the face of real-life injustice. Much gory violence, gruesome images, a vengeance theme, cohabitation, a benignly viewed homosexual relationship, drug use, a couple of profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, frequent rough language, considerable crude and crass talk. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

- - -

CLASSIFICATION

"Candyman" (Universal) -- Catholic News Service classification, O -- morally offensive. Motion Picture Association rating, R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

Submit a Letter to the Editor