Mister All Sunday’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shares a lot in common with other horror remakes like The Craft: Legacy (2020) and Black Christmas (2019). Whereas the source material of these films created images infused with their themes and politics, their counterparts resort to imitation and didacticism. Ironically, their attempts to speak to the current moment™ dates them more than the films made 30 years ago.
Doesn't help that the politics of said remakes are shallow to boot. I kept thinking about this article while watching Candyman (2021) as characters talk about gentrification as an abstract concept while ignoring their own relation to it as upper middle class black people. The ending (spoilers ahead) being the worst example of this as it tries to capitalize on the real trauma of police brutality. Which is ironic since earlier the film tries to lampshade the tendency of black horror to enact the same pain it tries to document by putting these words in the mouth of a white critic when in reality it is the black critics making these complaints while white critics eat this shit it up (see the popular letterbox reviews & tomato score for example). But worst of all is the turning of Candyman into a force of retribution?????????? Like, I understand seeing him as a tragic figure as a victim of white violence, but did the filmmakers forget he also targeted black people?! At the literal pursuit of a white woman?!
All of which isn't to mention the start and stops of story threads, the contradictions of theme, and overrcorrecting of the previous film. Candyman (1992) is not a without flaws but its held together by a clear and unique vision. DaCosta's film isn't giving anything, the sleek and shiny surfaces echoing the mirror motif offer some unique set-pieces for creative kills but that's about it. This film is caught at the intersection of two cinemas in decline: of horror focusing more on telegraphing its themes over constructing images of dread, and of a black cinema disconnected from its audience that feels more anti-black than when its representations were absent. This was literally the only movie I was excited to see this year and it turned out to be the worst film of the summer.