Candyman

1992
8
Director: 
Bernard Rose

SYNOPSIS: 

Helen conducts a research on metropolitan folklore. While collecting interviews, she discovers that many people fear Candyman, a ruthless killer who, when summoned in front of the mirror, brutally kills the victims with a hook. During the continuation of the study, the legend seems to have a real foundation (dramatic murders that occurred in a popular neighborhood years before), a fact that scares and attracts Helen at the same time. But sometimes the boundaries between reality and fantasy, as between past and present, are fleeting: and the horror that Helen is studying will lead her to discover something new (and terrible) even about herself.

REVIEW: 

In this unfairly forgotten film, Bernard Rose proposes a terrible genius loci: in fact a popular area (Cabrini-Green) seems to be manned by Candyman, a bloodthirsty spirit that guts with a hook anyone who summons him in front of the mirror. Helen finds him out by chance, collecting interviews for her thesis on contemporary folklore.

After discovering that some years earlier, precisely in the Cabrini-Green, some violent homicides remained unpunished, Helen hypothesizes to have mistakenly collected only narratives, concerning real events that have been modified, year by year, by word of mouth. But when she begins to convince the interviewees that Candyman does not exist, the role of Helen is dramatically overturned from an observer to an (involuntary) accomplice to the crimes of the evil spirit. In fact, like any egregore, Candyman is "alive" as long as people believe in him. And this belief can be kept alive in one way only: by continuing to sow terror.

Bernard Rose develops the plot convincingly, thanks also to the skilful maintenance of Helen's point of view. We immediately sense her mysterious attraction to Candyman (and the way she is scared of it). We hold our breath with her when she finds out the truth about a man who was barbarously tortured and killed for loving the wrong woman. We cry with her when nightmares and reality merge incomprehensibly, and it is no longer possible to separate her destiny from that one of a hopeless monster who compulsively desires to carry out his original - and now horrific and unlikely – project.

Candyman's most brutal behaviors are "invisible" just like his ghastly name is "ineffable": splatter scenes lovers will perhaps be disappointed, but not being too explicit is a winning choice in last instance. And Philip Glass' melancholy soundtrack contributes to maintaining an engaging atmosphere, so that the film's increasing tension smoothly flows into a compelling finale.

At the same time, it is not easy to hold many other complex insights together. Perhaps this is why some good ideas (such as the passing of baton from pictorial art to graffiti, or the never resolved racial question) remain inadequately developed and risk appearing almost pleonastic, especially when the development of the main events must necessarily prevail.

However the film remains a good cinematographic transposition of Clive Barker's story, with Tony Todd's physique du rôle that makes the terrible ghost even creepier than in the original version, and a rightly awarded Virginia Madsen (with Saturn Award and other awards) for her performance as Helen Lyle . A film that deserves to be seen. In a room without mirrors, of course.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/julie.doublecoconut

OTHER MOVIES REVIEWS

Ritual Review

Ritual

2013

A married couple with a complicated relationship, a corpse, and a room at a less than reputable motel. It’s a classic formula for a horror movie that’s no doubt familiar for many genre fans. It’s also the set-up for Mickey Keating’s 2013 film, Ritual. Ritual is the 14th original film distributed by After Dark Originals. It stars Dean Cates (Pod) and Lisa Summerscales as married couple, Tom and Lovely. Additional costars include Derek Phillips (Serum), Brian Lally, and Katherine Skelton. Ritual opens with a warning title card, promising plenty of violence to come. It... Read More

Dead Awake review

Dead Awake

2016

Whether you’ve personally experienced it or simply heard your share of other people’s horror stories over the years, it doesn’t get much scarier than sleep paralysis. Director Phillip Guzman (Sleep No More) makes this all too relatable real life phenomenon the center of his 2016 indie horror film Dead Awake. The film stars indie horror favorite Jocelin Donahue (House of the Devil, All the Creatures Were Stirring) in the lead, as well as Jesse Bradford (Cherry Falls), Brea Grant (Dead Night), Lori Petty (Bates Motel), and others in supporting roles. The... Read More

The Noonday Witch review

The Noonday Witch

2016

When you think of the most chilling horror tales of all time, there are a lot of staples that come immediately to mind when it comes to possible settings – like dank asylums, haunted houses, isolated forests, or just about anywhere that feels a little creepier and more sinister under cover of darkness. You don’t probably think of sun-drenched corn fields or bright summer days in the countryside, but The Noonday Witch may just change your mind about that. The Noonday Witch is a 2016 Czech language film brought to the screen by promising Czech director, Jiri Sadek. (In... Read More

Kairo (Pulse) review

Kairo (Pulse)

2001

It’s safe to say that we’ve created our share of iconic horror characters here in America. Horror icons like Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Michael Myers (Halloween), or Jason Vorhees (Friday the 13th) are so highly recognizable, that they’re pretty much synonymous with the mere concept of a horror movie. Even so, no country handles horror quite like Japan does. Japanese horror films have a much-deserved reputation for being exceptionally horrifying and thought-provoking at the same time. You won’t find as many homicidal maniacs gracing genre screens in... Read More

The Black Room Review

The Black Room

2016

When it comes to classic horror tropes – like haunted houses and the dark secrets they hide – there’s definitely more than one way to approach material that is very familiar to the average genre fan by now. More and more modern filmmakers are adopting a cerebral approach and turning their haunted house movies into social commentaries with something larger to say. Others are focused on simply telling a good scary story with plenty of jump scares and special effects. Still more go for an exploitive approach that is almost intentionally trashy. The Black Room could probably... Read More