Directed by Bernard Rose, Candyman is a film all about urban legends, with the unbelievably talented Tony Todd starring as the antagonist, and perhaps as one of the best slasher villains to date, lending his eerie charm to the character who's namesake lends itself to the title of the film. There's something about Tony's performance itself that is unsettling, but with the horrifying effects thrown into the mix, such as a swarm of bees emerging from his mangled stomach, you get a much more terrifying villain to fear.
We follow Helen Lyle, a student investigating the myth of the Candyman, only to become a victim to this unfortunately real horror, with her skepticism turning into nightmarish terror. She is played by Virginia Madsen, who, whilst not quite as captivating as Neve Campbell in Scream or other horror icons such as Vera Miles in Psycho, is entertaining, engaging and quite good in the role.
It is a truly brilliant film with interesting camerawork, fantastic visuals, engaging performances and surprisingly good writing.
Whilst Scream was a successful 90s slasher for its reinvention of the genre, compared to I Know What You Did Last Summer which took the tired 80s formula and did nothing different, Candyman embraced the 70s ideology of taking the core aspect of slasher, the violence, and thrill of stab-rich horror and running with it in whatever manner the director saw fit. It has a final girl, as most do, but little else is similar. That's why it has held up, and that's exactly why it will have a better time translating to the modern-day, unlike the vastly overrated Halloween (2018) and the rightfully low-rated Friday the 13th remake.
It's a shame that Candyman has been pushed to the wayside, losing inclusion on many's best of slasher lists, because it is a truly brilliant film with interesting camerawork, fantastic visuals, engaging performances, and surprisingly good writing. It takes a basic concept and runs with it, much like Wes Craven's A Nightmare On Elm Street, and for that, it deserves recognition - it's a classic, even if it's not recognised as one by many.
Rating: 4/5 stars