Friday, January 22, 2010

Candyman - 4.5/5

"Why do you want to live? If you would learn just a little from me, you would not beg to live. I am rumor. It is a blessed condition, believe me. To be whispered about at street corners. To live in other people's dreams, but not to have to be. Do you understand?" --Candyman

There are certain things that I love about the ever ingenious Clive Barker and his stories. I love the way that he takes certain cliche concepts (in this one - the idea of the urban legend) and then makes it into a completely different monster. That's the amazing side of "Candyman" - it takes the idea of an urban legend and then fucks you with it.

Although some dissenters have merit in criticizing this early 90s work of slasher, I happen to think that its massively underrated. There are so many little things that make this movie brilliant in my eyes. Firstly, although there are some borderline over the top moments, I think this plays the scares and the concepts pretty damn serious. Which works for me nicely. Whether its the acting on anyone's part (in particular Virginia Madsen and the rather stale until the end Xander Berkeley as her husband) or just the rather interesting choices in music, I love the balls that this film has to push boundaries. "Candyman" doesn't play it safe all that often and it benefits from it. Secondly, the fact that some of this film gets dated (due to the early 90s outfits and trends) might hurt its reputation for some, but makes it stand out as a picture in time for me. For some reason, I like the fact that this film feels older and it works for its concepts.

I do have to throw into this review a mentioning of Tony Todd as the candyman. Now Clive Barker films have always had interesting 'villains' cause in a sense they are not truly villains as the protagonists tend to provoke them into their work. Of course, everyone remembers Pinhead from the "Hellraiser" series as being one of the ultimate baddies. But I would like to argue that Candyman could easily come up in that list too. Built upon a similar concept as Freddy Krueger, Candyman only lives on through the fear and whispers of his existence so when Madsen's character threatens that he takes action to conserve and punish those whom threaten him. It takes the urban legend concept and turns it on its head. Not to mention with Tony Todd's badass vocal delivery, bloody hook hand, and monstrous fur coat that hides a hive of bees in his chest, the design of Candyman is quite frankly - HORRIFYING. So by the time he does show up in the film (about half way through or so) his legend is built up that you're not sure what he's going to do - and uncertainty is horrifying too. Throw on that Todd's awesome and subtle acting (is he pained to do what he does? why is she always been the one?) one isn't sure his motives, despite what he says, but we know they are there. And that's brilliant.

I think the combination of Barker's story, Rose's ballsy choices as a director (love those God's Eye shots!), and the subtle acting make "Candyman" a must have and must see for any horror fan. A modern classic! 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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