PLOT: As Mardi Gras approaches, the Candyman returns to New Orleans, the place of his birth, to settle the score with the ancestors of those that wronged him in the past.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is technically not a first watch. I probably saw Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh way way back in the mid-90s, when it first came on cable. I have very little memory of this film, except for certain scenes, so I decided to use 31 Days of Horror as a refresher.
The sequel to the very excellent Candyman is an okay follow-up, but it seems a bit more budgeted than the original film, especially when you look at the cast. Tony Todd is back, and he’s great as always, and while Bill Nunn is a recognizable face that pops in for a few scenes, the rest of the cast seems detrimentally cheap. The leads feel like one-off characters from Seinfeld; like, it feels like Kelly Rowan’s most noted role is probably one episode where she played Jerry’s girlfriend, though I’m sure contributor Mark Myers is pulling his hair out at this, because she played Kirsten Cohen on 92 episodes of The O.C. The film is propped up by the filming location, as this one takes us to New Orleans, which is always a great place to set a movie; it’s impossible to set a movie there and not have the location become a character.
The film opens with our heroine, Annie Tarrant, arriving at the police station as her brother has just been booked on the murder of an author brutally murdered in a bar bathroom. The author, a man that wrote a book on The Candyman had a run-in with the brother earlier, so all signs point to this being an open-and-shut case. Even as the brother confesses to the murder, Annie cannot believe it, as the circumstances seem to be more than what her brother is capable of. Along the way, Annie, whom teaches underprivileged youths accidentally summons the Candyman in an attempt to disprove the myth. The myth, however, proves to be more, and she soon learns that her own family happens to play a major part in the existence of the Candyman.
One of the biggest problems with this movie is the use of jump scares, especially in the first act. There are a ton of red herring jump scares perpetrated by the score and they are egregious, especially nowadays when we are far more critical of this sort of manipulation. So many characters sneak up behind other characters for no reason. And sometimes, these jump scares border on slightly racist, as each male of color is used as a false appearance of the Candyman himself.
As mentioned, this is an okay sequel, but nothing more. It feels a little handcuffed by a smaller budget, though the gore is still pretty decent in this one. If this were set in any other location, I don’t think it would be as interesting, but the New Orleans during Mardi Gras setting is a perfect place to set this, and it’s probably one of the more memorable parts to it. Plus, Tony Todd is still great as the Candyman; I’m surprised there weren’t more films in the Candyman series, even if they wound up being straight-to-video follow ups.
The Candyman still provides the gore in this one, with his hook hand. It’s probably the strongest horror aspect of the film. The body count isn’t too crazy high, but the runtime is filled out with a good amount.
Gore Rating: 3 out of 5
There’s some okay moments in this movie, but it won’t make you lose sleep at night; not like the original film. It’s got some cool imagery, but there are a lot of false scares that feel exceptionally cheap.
Scare Rating: 1.5 out of 5
You get as close as seeing some nudity without actually seeing anything. There are scenes at Mardi Gras of naked people, but you don’t really see anything, especially given the nature of Mardi Gras.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 1.5 out of 5
If you’re a fan of the first one, I’d suggest this one more than if you didn’t like the first one. It’s passable, but nothing really more than that. Tony Todd is as good as he usually is, and the setting is cool, but the lower budget is kind of obvious with the rest of the cast.