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Candyman (1992) Review

Be My Victim.

Release Date: October 16th, 1992
Length: 1H 39M
Genre: Horror, Thriller
MPAA: 18A

I remember growing up around this movie, I remember kids on the playground trying to get other kids to say “Candyman” 5 times with the lights off whenever the opportunity came to them. I’m not sure if it was just the Urban Legend of Candyman or if the kids just saw the trailer on TV… or maybe they were watching it too damn young… which could be the case. But the legacy of just the name “Candyman” was something that I grew up around but never had the opportunity to see the movie until last year. And boy, was it worth the wait.

Candyman (1992) follows a urban legend simply named The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.

Bernard Rose is the writer and director of Candyman. I have not seen anything else that he has done, let alone heard of any of his other projects. But I think thats kinda suitable considering the impact and legacy that this film and its titular character have left on horror cinema. I thought this was a well made, intense, gripping and bloody ride that I honestly didn’t expect. This film earns its jump scares as its not just at every turn. There is genuine tension and build-up. I think it utilizes the “tell don’t show” method of horror movie making well until there is a small shift and it shows you every bloody thing. Just well done.

Candyman stars Virgina Madsen as Helen Lyle, Xander Berkeley as Trevor Lyle and Tony Todd as The Candyman.

Virgina Madsen’s filmography consists of Dune (1984), Firewall (2006), The Haunting In Connecticut (2009), Better Watch Out (2016), and Designated Survivor {TV Series} (2016-2019). I’ve seen all these other films that Madsen has done but I cannot for the life of me remember her roles in them. Candyman (1992) however I thought she did a great job and was able to sell the part. For somewhat of a slightly hokey premise that really falls on the atmosphere and the tension that the film creates and given her role in feeling to those things I thought she played the part of Helen very well and sold the entire premise for me.

Xander Berkeley’s filmography consists of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), A Few Good Men (1992), Apollo 13 (1995), Heat (1995), The Rock (1996), Bulletproof (1996), Spawn {TV Series} (1997-99), Air Force One (1997), Gattaca (1997), 24 {TV Series} (2001-2010), Fracture (2007), Taken (2008), and Kick-Ass (2010). I’ve always enjoyed Berkeley’s work, it was 24 where he played George Mason where I really took notice and whenever he pops up in other things, I automatically go “LOOK THERES GEORGE MASON.” Not trying to discount his other roles, but I also didn’t remember his name for a while. I thought Berkeley was great in this role and had good chemistry with Madsen. I felt like they were actually married and knew each other pretty well during their scenes together. They played off each other well.

Tony Todd’s filmography consists of Platoon (1986), The Crow (1994), The Rock (1996), Final Destination (2000), Final Destination 2 (2003), Final Destination 3 (2006), Half-Life 2: Episode Two {Video Game} (2007), Final Destination 5 (2011), Call Of Duty Black Ops II {Video Game} (2012), and Candyman (2021). This film doesn’t work without the enigmatic performance by Tony Todd. He is this role, and its difficult for me to ever see someone play it better than he can. His voice just pierces right into your soul. Theres a fair bit of voice work that he does in this movie and its just absolutely spine tingling and haunting. Always a pleasure to see such a horror icon on screen.

The music in Candyman is also worth noting. Composed by Philip Glass, whose filmography consists of over 160 projects including The Illusionist (2006). Just a very haunting score with some beautiful piano melodies.

All is not perfect with Candyman (1992) but really no film is perfect. My biggest gripe is the pacing felt weird in places. It would be smoothly going along at an even pace and then I felt like it just hit a wall and slowed down a bit, then would ramp back up and continue in that pattern. I also felt like there were some cuts that felt out of place.

All in all though, its a great film and its definitely worth watching almost 30 years later. It is essential watching before the spiritual sequel comes out in 2021.

I give Candyman (1992) a 4/5

Until Next Time,

Andrew

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