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CANDYMAN (15, 91 minutes)
With the acclaimed Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele placed himself in the upper echelon of filmmakers specialising in the macabre and disturbing.
But like M Night Shyamalan before him, that reputation is only an Old and a Last Airbender away from disappearing up its own backside.
For this continuation of the saga that began life as a Clive Barker short story in 1990, Peele hands over directing duties to protégé Nia DaCosta.
One immediate tick in the plus column is the recognition that if you’re going to move the story forward, rather than rebooting the franchise, there is only one Candyman, just like there can only be one Freddy Krueger or Pennywise the clown.
Which means, the return of Tony Todd to a role he first inhabited 29 years ago.
But from there it begins to fall apart as what should be a simple horror film gets bogged down in politics and a force fed diet of woke messaging.
An artist and his partner move into the now gentrified Chicago neighbourhood of Cabrini Green where he is told of the legend of Candyman and becomes determined to use what he has learned as inspiration for his work, which threatens his own sanity and unleashes a new wave of violence.
Deeper meaning may sit well with Peele’s previous outings, but at it’s heart Candyman is a slasher movie with one clear protagonist rather than a societal metaphor representing what’s wrong with the world.
When it comes to a ghost with a bloody meat hook instead of a hand, audience expectations tend to be pretty straightfoward – the build up of suspense and shocks to make you jump out of your seat.
It’s not supposed to be deep. It’s entertainment.
This tries to be more and subsequently fails at both.