Nia DaCosta's Candyman


By: Isaac P. Ale
August 30, 2021

candyman-banner Candyman [2021]

Film

My new thing is I'm going to start my articles with the trailers I saw in the theatre if I went to a theatre for a movie, I'm declaring that right now. And lucky for you and I, I did so happen to visit the theatre for a pleasant opening weekend viewing of Candyman. If I have to bring the box office to life for opening weekend numbers then so be it.

Well let's just get right into it, here's the trailers I saw that piqued my interest:

  • Last Night in Soho: I am beyond excited to check this one out when it arrives. I love Edgar Wright and just about all of his works. I'm a huge fan of Baby Driver and the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost trio of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. This looks like a mind-bending thriller horror that looks visually stunning. Not to mention Anya Taylor-Joy being in it is definitely a highlight as well.

That's pretty much it for trailers I absolutely loved...there was one that was kind of in between "oh is this gonna be good?" and "this looks like hot garbage". And that would be:

  • Copshop: The trailer I saw in the theatre made this look like a pretty funny comedy/action type of movie with Frank Grillo and Gerard Butler which I'm totally down for. There were moments that looked like it would be a blast to see. But of course there's also the moments where it is another Gerard Butler movie and I get flashbacks of watching Geostorm and questioning the order of the world. Sidenote: the drinking game for Geostorm is the way to go if you want to enjoy the movie because you won't remember it halfway through.

Then there's the trailers that are just bleh:

  • Jackass Forever: Again, thought we were over this.
  • Venom 2: Might be good, might be awful, trailer however looks kind of awful. They're really digging into the cheesiness that worked relatively well in the first one.
  • Halloween Kills: Is this not the same exact thing we've seen what, 4 times now?

But enough about the previews! Let's talk about Nia DaCosta's Candyman.

candyman-2 Candyman [2021]

If you are unaware there has been a cloud looming over this film, stemming from the naivety of people mixed with more nefarious purposes such as undermining the success of a Black female director. That being said, this cloud, was that people are consistently referencing this movie as Jordan Peele's latest horror film, which is undeniably false. While Peele has a writing credit on this film (so does Nia DaCosta) he is also a producer through his Monkeypaw Productions company. So please, I understand we all love Jordan Peele and his movie making creativity but give credit where credit is due, and that is to the director of the actual film: Nia DaCosta.

WHO, mind you, is now officially the first Black female director to debut a film at #1 in the domestic box office!!!!

An amazing feat and one that is a long time coming as well, but congratulations to Nia DaCosta for a historic achievement and here's to many more groundbreaking film moments in the future!

On a slightly less positive note, I must digress, this iteration of the Candyman saga was not 100% for me...

There's a good bit of clunky dialogue that seems so out of place it really detracts from the mythology and horror elements of the film. Specifically near the beginning of the film when the douchey art curator is holding his girlfriend, who was just introduced to Candyman, and he utters to laziest and ill-timed line of "is this real?"

With such off-putting delivery and minimal to no real "horror" behind it you begin to question the danger and scary elements of the film and Candyman as a whole.

Along with some rather questionable dialogue the story feels rushed and almost like a patchwork plot at points where you get from A to B but don't really understand how you got there. At the climax of the film when Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), and William Burke (Colman Domingo) are in the Cabrini-Green church for McCoy's baptism you're caught off guard as to how, why and when these characters got to where they are. McCoy is now for some reason in that fugue state referenced by Burke in the beginning and now Brianna has to be the witness for some ceremony Burke feels compelled to complete. It leaves plenty of question marks in my mind, while failing to deliver the scares I had hoped for.

However there is plenty of positive for Candyman especially the fantastic direction and vision of Nia DaCosta. The intro sequence is one of the more beautifully ominous introductions with the skyscrapers representing the very gentrification at the heart of the plot reaching up into the murky abyss of clouds. A hauntingly beautiful sight that sets a great tone for the film. Not to mention what really excels in the film is the juxtaposition of not being able to see Candyman other than in a reflection and having some of the gruesome killings shielded from our view as well.

The high schoolers in the bathroom, the art curator, even one or more of the police officers at the end all meet a demise that we can't see all of. It helps to layer the mystique and horror all in one to an overwhelmingly positive result.

Lastly, Colman Domingo is as magnetic as ever. His speech on the mythology behind Candyman, about the gentrification of Cabrini-Green combined with the lynching and murders at the hands of the police was gut-wrenching. He was able to weave together the story and meaning of Candyman, his purpose in the world and Cabrini-Green, into this rather short (contextually speaking) yet powerful dialogue. A highlight to be sure and I wouldn't mind seeing Colman Domingo in many more projects to come.

While I didn't necessarily love all of Candyman there is definitely a lot to like about it. In terms of horror films it is a must see for the avid fan and has some fantastic horror elements and visuals to it.

Froth

Originally I was hoping to have something honey themed for this film, knowing all of the bee symbolism and trying to connect the dots between film and froth. However, with no such luck finding anything, I was able to settle on a horrifyingly titled Belgian strong golden ale that was pretty close to what I was trying to acheive.

Enter, Delirium Tremens, a strong golden ale from the Belgian Huyghe Brewery. While this is a golden ale that tends to have some redundant flavors to it, this one in particular has some excellent character to it. The Delirium Tremens boasts a triple fermentation with three different yeasts present, giving it a potpourri of flavors and finishes. While it starts rather sweet and malty it finishes with some wonderful dry floral flavors. It truly provides a well rounded tasting experience, and at 8.5% ABV it provides a nice warmth as well, perfect for a horror movie on a chilly rainy day.

Delirium Tremens
Strong Golden Ale - Belgian | 8.5% ABV
Huyghe Brewery
@delirium_brewery

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