29 September 2011 | toll-8
Dare you to say it, cause I don't.
Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman
.. Not even looking in a mirror but I don't dare finish the phrase. I can see my reflection in the computer screen. Maybe that counts, I don't know. No hook so far, I'm safe.
Most of you will be thinking that this film will be typical. Looking back at it now, from the teens to the nineties you will be thinking another typical Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday the 13th that will be remade very shortly as a Hollywood slasher flick. I have to say on first impression of this film, this was not the case.
The first forty minutes follow Helen (Madsen), a student researching for her thesis on urban horror. To accompany her on her project is her best friend Bernadette (Lemmons), who unwittingly helps Helen delve deep into the theories behind one of the great legends, that of the 'Candyman.' Say his name five times and he'll cut you with his hook of a hand. They interview people from a rundown council estate, a place where a while back a girl was murdered after stating Candyman's name five times into the mirror. Her body was then sliced open from groin to gullet. The residents believe it has some mystic reason but Helen just shrugs it off and researches the building without any care. She finds, hidden away behind the mirror a secret lair, which has signs of life to it. Intrigued by this she goes in taking photos. Photos she believes will help her ace her project. Bernadette on the other hand is more interested in their safety.
Helen gets rid of the shackle that is Bernadette and continues her research alone but comes unstuck when she meets 'Candyman' himself. A leader of the local gang who uses a hook to hurt people. She is attacked but not killed and then helps the police in capturing this man.
Up to this point the film is good and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was enjoying it. No silly teen girl doing things out of the ordinary, no shoddy acting to match the dreadful script. As a matter of fact the acting and script were pretty good. There is also believable reason as to why Helen pursues her interest alone. An untrustworthy husband and a desire to achieve greatness.
I'm afraid after here though the film takes a huge dive. For starters the Candyman is finally introduced, the spirit of a slave who had his hand sawn off, his body smothered in honey to attract deadly bees and burnt on a fire, and that is the problem from there. He was much more believable when he wasn't seen. People say they thought Todd was excellent as the Candyman but I just found the whole role lame. The film had real potential up until we finally see him, standing like he has a rod up his arse in a parking garage. From there we see him hypnotize Helen into murdering the next load of victims and being arrested for it. Causing her to drop her obsession with the case and instead be an object of Candyman's desires.
I won't tell you too much more as it may ruin a film many horror fans will love, I'm just a little disappointed that a film that started off so well ended so poorly. Madsen is brilliant in her role and takes the useless female actor cliché away from the horror franchise, well at least from this film anyway, and the score is intensely creepy although there is only so much organ playing I can take. Also many of the tracking shots giving you the sense that someone is watching you are great.
It's just an absolute shame this film took a dive as it could have been something a hell of a lot better.