Candyman: everything we know about Nia DaCosta’s horror film sequel

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The much-anticipated “spiritual sequel” to Candyman has just been pushed back to 2021: here’s everything we know about the reboot of a cult horror classic, directed by Nia DaCosta.

Every horror fan worth their salt will remember the original Candyman film.

Based on a short story by Clive Barker, the 1992 movie follows Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) as she collects urban legends for her sociology project. It’s through this research that she stumbles across the story of a mythical serial killer named Candyman.

Lyle, keen to learn more, visits Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects, where she’s met with hostility and distrust by the residents who tell her more stories about “the ghost of an artist and the son of a slave”. While there are some differences to the tales, all agree on one thing: Candyman can be summoned by saying his name five times while facing a mirror – whereupon he will promptly kill the summoner with a hook jammed on the bloody stump of his right arm.

To be honest, even if you haven’t seen the OG film, you can probably guess what happens next. Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candym… and, yup, a whole lot of murder.

The horror film grossed $25 million domestically, and has gone down in history as one of the best slasher movies of all time. However, it is not without its controversies. Indeed, many have claimed that, in setting the undead son of a former slave on a white woman, the OG Candyman played into some deeply disturbing racial stereotypes.

Viewers will see a whole new side to Candyman, however, in its star-studded “spiritual sequel”. Here’s everything you need to know about the new-look horror. 

When will the new Candyman hit cinemas?

The reboot version from director Nia DaCosta was originally due to come out in June this year but was delayed to October due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

This week, the release was put back again to an unconfirmed date in 2021, with DaCosta explaining that Candyman was made to be seen in cinema theatres; not just for the spectacle, but because the film itself is about community. With cinemas either closed at the moment, or visitor numbers dwindling, the production team made the decision to push Candyman back. 

Is there a trailer for the new Candyman?

There sure is; and it’s chilling enough to make its big-screen debut more than worth the wait.

Aside from the fact that if you watch it, you’ll never be able to listen to Destiny’s Child song Say My Name in the same way again, the trailer also gives a glimpse into how DaCosta has sought to remake the original slasher flick.

What is the new Candyman all about?

The 2021 version of Candyman explores the origin of the film’s mythical killer and the racist killings the story grapples with.

“Candyman, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs,” DaCosta said in a tweet earlier this year. “The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been.”

The new Candyman is a direct sequel to the original film, and it will take us back to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began. We also know that we will follow an artist named Anthony (Yahya Abdul Mateen II) – aka the same baby that survived the Candyman’s rampage back in 1992.

It has been suggested that Anthony’s role is a little more complex than that of traumatised one-time victim, though, because, when he looks in the mirror, he sees a hallucinatory reflection of Candyman’s ghost. Could it be that the hook-handed killer is living through the artist in some way?

Who stars in the new Candyman film?

Alongside Abdul-Mateen II, we have Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, with Tony Todd and Vanessa A. Williams reprising their roles as the film’s eponymous character and Anne-Marie McCoy respectively.

What are people saying about the new Candyman film?

You will have undoubtedly seen headlines about “Jordan Peele’s Candyman” everywhere. People are saying the trailer alone “will kill you several times over” – and that it “might just be the scariest movie ever made”.

Of course, it’s too soon to know if they’re right. We do, however, know that they’re very wrong about one major detail: Peele is not the director of this movie.

“This is Nia DaCosta,” noted one person on Twitter. “She is the director of Candyman. Jordan Peele is not the director of Candyman. He is a writer and producer for Candyman. Thanks for your time.”

Exactly. While Peele – who brought us such gems as Get Out and Us – is the producer and writer of Candyman, DaCosta is the breakout star who directed it. 

What more do we know about Candyman director Nia DaCosta?

DaCosta helmed two recent episodes of Top Boy, a drama series about a pair of drug dealers operating out of a housing estate in East London, and made her feature directorial debut with Little Woods. And, yes, she received acclaim for both projects, so trust us when we say that your horror needs are in very safe hands.

Is the new Candyman film really about toxic fandom?

Ah, you noticed that too? Well, Ian Cooper, the creative director of Peele’s production company, has actually stated that the Candyman sequel will be self-aware in addressing toxic fandom.

“What we’re trying to do with Candyman is both be mischievous in how we address the relationship to the first film, but also be very satisfying,” he said.

Consider us intrigued, and – based on the trailer – suitably terrified, too. Roll on 2021.

Images: Monkeypaw Productions

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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