Candyman features an ambitious, multi-layered script from Jordan Peele (Get Out), Win Rosenfeld and Nia DaCosta (Little Woods). Under DaCosta's direction, the script rises above itself, creating a fun and exciting horror film that, like the original 1992 film, exceeds the typical expectations of the slasher genre.

Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a young, growing artist known for his distinctive style of social commentary art. When the gallery he is set to show at asks him to find something else, Anthony struggles to break free. That is until he heard the story of Candyman, an urban legend from the nearby Cabrini-Green housing project. He becomes obsessed with the story, tracing details and displaying them on canvas. But when the legend becomes a harsh reality, will Anthony be able to break free or become part of it, like Helen Lyle before him?

The script is carefully thought out as a continuation of the original film, but at the same time has great originality. Most importantly, the writers seem to be channeling Clive Barker, the character's creator. The setting remains the same as the local legend, although not as famous as when Cabrini-Green existed as public housing. Lack of modern fame doesn't stop the character from wreaking havoc, especially since there are those who remember. It connects the old story to the new in a wonderful way. As with the original Candyman, the overriding theme is the idea that horrific injustices can give rise to something even worse. The title's clever use of Anthony Candyman's first drawing neatly ties it all together.

DaCosta's direction of the actors and the story keeps the film moving at a good pace, building tension in the story as it builds to its inevitably violent crescendo. The audience never loses sight of the allegory of racial violence, but also never feels pressured or coerced. The actors portray this well, especially Abdul-Mateen II as an artist who truly suffers for his art. His performance is as memorable as Tony Todd's in previous Candyman films.

Although films of this type tend to use gore, and a few scenes meet this requirement, it is not as much as audiences are accustomed to. In some cases, much of this happens off camera or at a distance. They often enhance the cooling effect rather than detract from it. The brilliant use of light and shadow and shaky camera angles make this film unsettling without relying on blood and guts. Another interesting and effective aspect is the use of shadow puppetry to tell many of the historical details about Candyman. The makeup, costumes, and sets use modern techniques while remaining true to the original Candyman series. It all fits well with a revamped environment and a place where times have truly changed. Overall, the film looks like a classic, memorable horror film.

Candyman works equally well as a horror film as it does as a social commentary, which is something Peele excels at. The exceptional writing style, precise direction and superb acting of the main character have cemented Candyman as the most lovable of all universal monsters.

Tags: Horror