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Candyman (2021)

Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini-Green, and after a chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.
5.0 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
5.0 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
Representation
Asian
Black

Incluvie Movie Critiques


Alex Arabian
September 2, 2021
5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

Candyman's Use of Historical Black Puppetry as Narrative Device

Nia DaCosta’s use of Black artists historically speaking out in her spiritual Candyman sequel, brilliantly realized by a small art production company named Manual Cinema, traces back to artists such as John W. Cooper Jr., or the “Black Napoleon of Ventriloquism’s” use of dummies in the 19th and 20th centuries to fight racial violence, and Ralph Chessé, a famous puppeteer who opened his own theater in San Francisco in the early 1920s, operating marionettes. “Candyman ain't a 'he.’ Candyman is the whole damn hive,” proclaims William Burke (Colman Domingo) to Brianna (Teyonah Parris). He represents all Black victims of white supremacy, and this art form narratively conveys it in a succinct, adulatory way, the history of which is rare to find. In fact, one of the few ways this type of Black art lives is through the “Living Objects: African American Puppetry” exhibit at Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry in Storrs, CT. Artists play a complex role in DaCosta's new vision, serving as both a source of division between the projects and the whiter, upper-class high rises a mere few blocks outside of them, and as an important link to Candyman's past and the generational trauma the persona represents. Candyman is both the ghost of a 19th Century man who fell in love with one of the subjects of his commissioned portraits who was brutally slaughtered for at the hands of white men, as well as every other Black man who faced a similar fate, including, eventually, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), also an artist, desperate to escape his artistic block, even if it means exploiting his own community. "I think it’s a really great way to show this Black man trying to navigate a very white world, someone who is also being asked to exploit his community in order to make art." DaCosta tells the New York Times. "He’s trying to write a thesis, trying to get inspiration for his work and get out of the slump he’s in. Almost all Black artists, no matter what industry they’re in, deal with this." Like the public housing project, Cabrini-Green, that McCoy bases his latest project on to free himself of the artistic "slump" in which he finds himself, the art world is historically controlled by a white majority. However, Candyman, and everything he represents, won't let McCoy forget what that truly means. "It’s all about, 'My name is to be remembered, My story is to be remembered' — by this community in particular,” DaCosta further explains to the New York Times. “Because the community doesn’t exist anymore, and gentrification changed the demographics of the community.” Believe it or not, conservatives mobilized against then-President Truman's initial proposal for additional projects after World War II. Although they proclaimed them too socialistic, they inadvertently attempted to ban housing segregation, which would have prevented so many problems for the Black community in the future. Paul Douglass, a liberal senator from Illinois famously announced: "I should like to point out to my Negro friends what a large amount of housing they will get under this act… I am ready to appeal to history and to time that it is in the best interests of the Negro race that we carry through the housing program as planned, rather than put in the bill an amendment which will inevitably defeat it." It was a controversial, manipulative way to ensure votes for the Housing Act and allow city officials and planners to discriminate based on race. With the Housing Act of 1949 passed, and housing racially segregated across America, many policies enacted by white government officials deteriorated the Black community. In “High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing,” which DaCosta referenced in the research phase during Candyman's pre-production, author Ben Austen explains that an extremely high demand for housing in the projects eventually pushed working-class families out in favor of poor people who couldn't afford these units when government officials addressed lowered their income cutoff. The Chicago Housing Authority evicted working-class families, the initial target tenant profile of these housing projects. Austen points out that this policy created by the Authority significantly lowered the marriage rate in the projects, as a joint family income may raise their earnings above the cutoff. Now, the projects were segregated by both race and
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Daleyna
August 31, 2021
5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

Go and Tell Everyone About 'Candyman'

In 1992, the original Candyman was released and subsequently became one of the most important Black horror films of all time. The story followed white graduate student Helen Lyle on her study into Cabrini-Green’s urban legend of Candyman. Candyman was the son of a slave who fell in love with a white woman. When she got pregnant, the woman’s father had Candyman lynched. The mob cut off his hand and replaced it with a hook, smeared his body in honeycomb so the bees stung him to death, and finally burned his body on his pyre. Helen discovered Candyman was real, and he wanted her to be his next victim. After framing her for various murders and kidnapping an infant, Candyman was destroyed by Helen (who turned out to be his reincarnated white lover), and thus was the end of the spirit.  Or so it seemed.  Candyman (2021) is a direct sequel to the first film and follows Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) -- the infant Candyman kidnapped in the first film -- as an adult. He is now a struggling artist who just moved to the now gentrified Cabrini-Green with his partner, Brianna. The story follows him as he finds creative inspiration in the myth of Candyman. However, his art causes Candyman to appear again and murder anyone who says his name five times into a mirror. Anthony begins to descend into madness as he sees Candyman in his own reflection and begins to undergo a physical transformation into the spirit.  The directing of this film is spectacular. From the moment the movie begins, the atmosphere is unsettling, aided by a chilling score and slow, upside-down shots of the high-rises in the gentrified Cabrini-Green. There is no doubt that Nia DaCosta is going places. She is a brilliant mind, discussing at great length what this film means to her and why she chose to represent Black history and trauma the way she did. She is not allowing herself to be constrained to telling stories about Black pain either -- she is set to direct the Marvel blockbuster The Marvels, an amazing opportunity for an up-and-coming female director of color. The movie will also feature female superheroes of color, one of which will be played by Teyonah Paris. 
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Movie Information


Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini-Green, and after a chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.

Rating:R
Genre:Horror, Thriller
Directed By:Nia DaCosta
Written By:Jordan Peele, Nia DaCosta, Win Rosenfeld
In Theaters:8/27/2021
Box Office:$77,389,310
Runtime:91 minutes
Studio:Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Monkeypaw Productions, Bron Studios, Universal Pictures, Creative Wealth Media Finance

Cast