Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “Aquaman”) is a painter on the rise. He and his curator girlfriend, Brianna (Teyonah Parris, “WandaVision,” “If Beale Road Could Talk”) live in a fabulous apartment in a gentrifying Chicago community. The neighborhood applied to include things like the towers of the Cabrini-Environmentally friendly community housing project. An urban legend arose amongst people about a murderous supernatural creature with a hook for a hand and, sure, the hook was portion of the murderousness. He was recognized as Candyman — that’s why the title, “Candyman.”

Explained to about Candyman by Brianna’s brother (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), Anthony is intrigued. He does archival study. He usually takes photographs of exactly where Candyman supposedly roamed. He interviews William Burke (Colman Domingo, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”). William runs a laundromat. Forty yrs earlier, as a boy, he encountered the person reputed to be the inspiration for Candyman — a person the Chicago police murdered.

Teyonah Parris in “Candyman.” Parrish Lewis/Universal Pictures and MGM/Linked Press

An vital aspect of the Candyman legend (or maybe that must be “legend”?) is that if you glance in a mirror and repeat his name 5 moments — whisper it, chant it, yell it, does not make a difference: “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman,” the result is the very same — he will surface and murder you.

Anthony does a painting of Candyman. Properly, no, that simply cannot be ideal. He does a portray of how he imagines Candyman seems, considering the fact that Candyman doesn’t really exist. The portray is part of an installation, positioned within just a medication cabinet — you know, the variety with two mirrored doorways. Study the wall text following to the artwork, search in the mirror, open the doors, and there’s the portray. The wall textual content involves the small business about declaring his name. Not that anyone would essentially do that . . .

There is the set up.

This “Candyman” is simultaneously sequel and reboot. The very first “Candyman” arrived out in 1992, with stick to-ups in 1995 and 1999. Factors of the primary are acknowledged all through this a person. Virginia Madsen, who played a important character in the primary, delivers that character’s tape-recorded voice in this article. There is a glimpse of Domingo (what a voice the gentleman has!) reading through a e book in Burke’s laundromat. It’s by Clive Barker, who wrote the limited story that inspired the films.

Colman Domingo in "Candyman."
Colman Domingo in “Candyman.” Parrish Lewis/Universal Pictures and MGM Photos/Linked Press

There are missteps. The brother’s telling the Candyman story really arrives out of still left subject. The comic effect to which the brother’s gayness is utilized pretty quickly stops becoming funny. Even additional of a caricature is a self-significant artwork critic (Rebecca Spence). If she ended up any fewer sympathetic, you could give her a hook and have her audition for Mrs. Candyman.

People are exceptions, even though, in a movie that displays real imagination. The nicest contact arrives from director Nia DaCosta. This is her 2nd film, pursuing her fine debut, “Little Woods” (2018). DaCosta tells much of the backstory using shadow puppets. (They can be found individually on the web in a limited film.) Their black silhouettes, in change, remember the get the job done of the artist Kara Walker. The shadow-puppet illustrations or photos are arresting, sophisticated, and, sure, a great way to limit gore. Lest we overlook, “Candyman” is a slasher motion picture. The last 15 minutes or so ensure that no a single loses sight of that point (unless of course they are masking their eyes, which may not be a negative thought).

Acute and skillfully built, “Candyman” is also pointedly political. One of its producers is Jordan Peele. Far more essential, he’s also one particular of the writers, with DaCosta and Earn Rosenfeld. Peele is, of system, the writer-director of “Get Out” (2017) and “Us” (2019). No just one extra searchingly braids together horror, imaginary and on a monitor, with horror, actual and in modern society. A supernatural man with a hook for a hand is scary, no query, and what he does is horrifying. But he’s not as terrifying as a bunch of cops with guns — and what they do can be even extra horrifying.

Michael Hargrove in "Candyman."
Michael Hargrove in “Candyman.”Universal Shots and MGM Images/Affiliated Push

★★½

CANDYMAN

Directed by Nia DaCosta. Composed by Jordan Peele, Gain Rosenfeld, and DaCosta based on a short story by Clive Barker. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. At Boston theaters, suburbs. 91 minutes. R (you can envision why — and if you simply cannot, then you’re not the kind of person who ought to even believe about viewing a movie like this).


Mark Feeney can be arrived at at [email protected]