Candyman: 2021 movie cinema release date, trailer, reviews round-up - and cast with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

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In 1992, hook-handed killer Candyman from Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden went on his first rampage in cinemas.

Those of us young enough to have been at school in the 90s will remember the playground legend of the Candyman, a demonic force who could be summoned by saying his name five times into a mirror.

Almost 30 years later, the supernatural killer slays another day in a direct sequel to the 1992 film.

The slasher, directed by Nia DaCosta with Get Out’s Jordan Peele serving as an executive producer, had been set to arrive in cinemas in June 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over a year later, it has finally arrived. But what is it all about, and is it any good?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is Candyman about?

Candyman tells the story of visual artist Anthony McCoy, who has experienced two creatively barren years since he burst onto the scene with his bold, politically conscious paintings.

Girlfriend Brianna is the director at an art gallery run by Clive Privler, which financially supports the couple in the heavily gentrified Cabrini Green neighbourhood of Chicago.

But while the neighbourhood might seem an idyllic slice of middle-class life, it’s actually where the urban legend of Daniel Robitaille, aka the Candyman, once struck fear into residents’ hearts.

It has been a long time since the bogeyman cast a shadow but long-term locals still shudder at his mention.

Anthony becomes aware of the tale when it’s told by Brianna’s brother after dinner, sowing the seeds of a fascination with bloodshed close to home.

The artist plunders the legend for a provocative installation, which invites visitors to perform the summoning into a mirrored cabinet.

Who stars in it?

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) stars as Anthony McCoy, a visual artist who becomes obsessed with the Candyman legend, while Teyonah Parris (Dear White People) plays his girlfriend.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) is Brianna’s brother Troy, Kyle Kaminsky is Troy’d husband Grady Greenberg, Colman Domingo (Lincoln) is Cabrini Green resident William Burke, and Vanessa Estelle Williams (New Jack City) is Anthony’s estranged mother, Anne-Marie.

Elsewhere on the cast are Brian King as Clive Privler, Miriam Moss as Jerrica Cooper, Rebecca Spence as Finley Stephens, Carl Clemons-Hopkins as Jameson, Christiana Clark as Danielle Harrington, Michael Hargrove as Sherman Fields, Rodney L Jones III as Billy, and Heidi Grace Engerman as Haley Gulick.

Is it any good?

At the time of writing, the film currently carries an approval rating of 86 per cent on reviews aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which says the film “takes an incisive, visually thrilling approach to deepening the franchise's mythology.”

The Times’ Kevin Maher called Candyman “a standout splatterfest that’s simultaneously silly, frightening and simmering with rage at the festering wound of US racial injustice” in his 4 star review.

Johnny Oleksinski from the New York Post said Candyman’s “loud messages” don’t “overwhelm the plot or characters because director DaCosta, in only her second feature, has made such an exciting, fun movie.”

Empire Magazine was slightly less impressed, with reviewer Kambole Campbell awarding the film three stars, and calling it “clunky and overly instructive in its metaphorical purpose.”

When can I watch it?

Canydman had been set to arrive in cinemas in June 2020, however Universal and MGM delayed the film a total of three times until 2021.

It is out now in UK cinemas.

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