Director: Bernard Rose
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
A pair of grad students writing their thesis on urban mythology start to look into the legend of Candyman (Tony Todd). He is said to be a hook-handed spectre who haunts the people of Cabrini-Green. He can be summoned by saying his name five times in a mirror. Being a skeptic, one of the students named Helen (Virginia Madsen) says his name five times, inadvertently summoning the murderous demon.
"Candyman" is written and directed by Bernard Rose and is based on the Clive Barker short story "The Forbidden." It stars Virginia Madsen as Helen, a grad student working on a thesis about urban mythology with her partner Bernie, played by Kasi Lemmons. The story that intrigues Helen the most is the story of Candyman, played by Tony Todd, a spirit who torments the people of Cabrini-Green. It is said if you say his name five times in a mirror, he will appear and gut you with his hook. Don't believe in such things? Neither did Helen. To prove that Candyman was only a legend, she says his name five times into a mirror. Care to give it a try? What, he didn't appear? He didn't appear right away for Helen, either. It isn't until a short time later when bizarre things start to happen that Candyman shows his face. Helen's life begins to unravel around her as those closest to her start dying on Candyman's hook. Could she be next? Or will Candyman stop at nothing to kill everyone she knows?
This is a very effective supernatural horror film. Virginia Madsen is excellent as the ambitious Helen, who is trying her best to make her thesis extra special, which may even get it published. Madsen does an excellent job in portraying the eagerness and headstrong yet vulnerable nature of her character. Tony Todd's Candyman is a brilliant, iconic character and Todd fits the role perfectly. He has a very ominous presence being a tall man dressed in upper class clothing from the 1800's, including a fur-lined trench coat, shiny shoes, and a bloody stump with a hook shoved into it where a hand use to be. Then, of course, there are the bees pouring out of his mouth, which adds a whole extra level of horror to the Candyman package. The entire mythos surrounding Candyman is also very intriguing, as is the history of the housing project he is said to haunt. The Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago have an extremely sordid past in their own right without the help of a murderous spirit. There is a lot of graphic violent imagery in "Candyman" as this being tears his victims apart with his hook from crotch to neck. The visuals here are both disturbing and super cool to see. There is also a strong psychological aspect to movie as it starts to imply that maybe Helen is actually crazy as she starts to wake up in weird places and gets blamed for the murders of her friends.
This aspect, combined with all of the aforementioned aspects, makes "Candyman" an underappreciated, terrifying horror film that deserves more recognition than it gets. It is ultra-violent, loaded with gruesome imagery, and has excellent acting and a creepy plot. Horror fans must see this slasher!
My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!