Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

Heed the advice of the Grateful Dead, who once sang: “Look out, look out, The Candyman.” Mind you, they also said “Look for a while at the china cat sunflower,” so who knows.

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Clive Barker’s Candyman (the great Tony Todd) returns in this pointless slasher sequel from 1995, which should be called Candyman: Farewell to the Good Elements of the Original. Where Bernard Rose’s film had a proper story about an academic (brilliantly played by Virginia Madsen) investigating an urban legend, this follows an instantly forgettable protagonist (Kelly Rowan) as she tediously watches her loved ones get killed by the hook-handed mirror-botherer.

Bill Condon would go on to impressive work in Mr. Holmes, but his direction here has all the dexterity of a hook for a hand. Candyman had its faults, but this follow-up really makes you appreciate its craft. While bees were specially bred for that film, this one moves like a slug. Rose and Madsen made us believe in the Candyman first time around, but this is woefully unconvincing and makes a bloody mess of the original’s social and racial themes.

The only good thing about Candyman 2 is the wonderful Philip Glass score, and that’s lifted directly from the original. Like a bee, this franchise stung once and then died.

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