Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PLACE PART II
ANOTHER ROUND
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021-)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-)
BINGEABLE: CLICKBAIT
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: THE WHITE LOTUS
BINGEABLE: TITANS (2018-)
BLACK WIDOW
BLAST FROM THE PAST: CARRIE (1976)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BOSS LEVEL
CANDYMAN
CRY MACHO
GUILTY PLEASURE: BACHELOR IN PARADISE (2014-)
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
IRRESISTIBLE
LIMBO
MISHA AND THE WOLVES (2021)
NEW FLICKS: BLOOD RED SKY
NEW FLICKS: CODA
NEW FLICKS: COPSHOP
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: REMINISCENCE
NEW FLICKS: SWEET GIRL
NEW FLICKS: THE SUICIDE SQUAD
NEW FLICKS: VAL (2021)
NINE DAYS
NO SUDDEN MOVE
PIG
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN (2021)
SOUL
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER (2020)
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE NEW MUTANTS
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
TV REVIEW: A WILDERNESS OF ERROR (2020)
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES (2021)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MARE OF EASTTOWN
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL (2020)
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WANDAVISION
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: THE KINGDOM (2007)

‘Candyman’ successfully scares with gore plus social, racial commentary

CANDYMAN

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF MONKEYPAW PRODUCTIONS

CANDYMAN


Where is it playing?: In theaters (check local listings)

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $Full price (Caleb Wiseblood)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Téa Main)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Filmmaker Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) resurrects a 1990s horror icon, breathing fresh life into the dormant Candyman franchise with a chilling new entry. (90 min.)

Caleb: Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two? It’s the Candyman of course, but I’ll refrain from mentioning him by name again—or at least more than four times—in fear of inadvertently summoning this ghostly slasher. Technically he-who-must-not-be-named only appears if you call out to him five times while standing in front of a mirror, but I’m not taking any chances with this review. The mirror motif immediately comes into play in co-writer/director Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, as the aforementioned Willy Wonka-sourced lyrics echo over the Universal and MGM logos, stylistically reversed to appear as reflections of themselves. Have you ever seen the MGM lion roar in reverse? Well you’re about to. Clever title sequences aside, I wrongly assumed this chilling new take on the Candyman mythos (originating from a short story by Clive Barker, famously adapted into the 1992 film) was going to be a reboot of the franchise. Instead, Acosta and co-writers Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld have fashioned a thought-provoking follow-up to the original film. Twenty-seven years after the events of its predecessor, this sequel follows a Chicago-based artist, Anthony McCoy, (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) seeking a fresh muse. In an attempt to break a creative dry spell, McCoy decides to base his next exhibition on a local urban legend he’s become engrossed in. Unlike myself, this protagonist isn’t afraid to say his subject’s name five times in a row.

Téa: McCoy’s Candyman-inspired exhibit, complete with a mirror, dares viewers to “say his name,” inciting a grave series of events to unfold as the legend begins to spread once again. McCoy learns more about the legend of Candyman from laundromat owner William Burke (Colman Domingo), who relays his own chilling experience with Candyman as a child. Burke introduces us to Candyman’s dark and layered history, sharing with McCoy the story of the first Candyman in 1890, Daniel Robitaille. Narrated by Burke, the first Candyman’s origin story is presented through a captivating sequence of shadow puppets, in which we witness the gruesome lynching of Robitaille’s shadowy facsimile at the hands of an angry mob. Though the theme of racial injustice is consistently woven throughout the film, it is perhaps this sequence that most poignantly highlights the legend’s intrinsic link to the struggles of the downtrodden Black community, particularly residents of the Cabrini-Green housing project (the alleged site of several Candyman killings). While the film does touch on the issue of gentrification, it leaves something to be desired in that department of its social commentary. Nevertheless, DaCosta creatively inspires the film’s audience to examine their own experiences regarding race, class, and privilege.

Caleb: That puppet sequence is truly haunting, and one of the many instances this sequel surpasses its predecessor in striking the perfect balance between escapist horror and poignant social commentary. The original film (one of the best horror movies of the ’90s by far) does comment on racial injustice, but those elements seem to get sidelined by other thematic threads—psychosis, adultery, infanticide, just to name a few—and the film’s goriest moments. While both films celebrate gore in grandiose fashion to please fans of the slasher genre, the most unnerving aspect of 2021’s Candyman has nothing to do with its titular, hook-handed killer nor the numerous throats he slits. Without giving away too much, there’s a scene where McCoy’s girlfriend, Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris) is sitting in the back of a cop’s car, and the dialogue overheard from the driver’s seat is just as stomach churning as anything else in the film. Although Peele did not direct Candyman (restricting himself to the producer’s chair), it feels like a spiritual successor to both of his directorial efforts, Get Out and Us, as all three thrillers succeed in repurposing age-old horror tropes to illustrate themes of race and privilege. 

Téa: Peele’s influence clearly shines throughout the film, inviting audience members to reflect on some of the more challenging themes the film presents. We can’t help but consider the role Candyman plays against the sociocultural backdrop of Cabrini-Green; we’re all but forced to ponder the legend’s symbolic purpose and unwittingly find ourselves musing on the intersection of race and class as the film progresses. The eerily familiar dialogue between Brianna and the police officer provides a chilling link to current events as it depicts just a small sliver of the devastating reality that the Black community endures at the hands of the justice system. Though Candyman himself might be just an urban legend, I’m left with the impression that what the specter represents is, in fact, all too real. The climax and resolution of the film were a bit rushed; however, I thoroughly enjoyed the film’s deliciously sweet ending.

Sun Screen was written by Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood and freelancer Téa Main this week. Send comments to cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.










Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said,

| Poll Results






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