Creepy modern "Candyman" sneak peek: "We create monsters of men all the time"

Director Nia DaCosta says her Jordan Peele-produced horror flick will reflect the "duality of the Black experience”

By Kylie Cheung
Published June 19, 2021 12:22AM (EDT)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in "Candyman" (2021) (Universal Pictures)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in "Candyman" (2021) (Universal Pictures)

Someone must have said "Candyman" five times because the spirit of that urban legend has been summoned back. Even though the reboot won't be released until later this summer, director Nia DaCosta has offered a sneak peek of the disturbing horror flick just in time to haunt your Juneteenth dreams.

DaCosta is known for directing the acclaimed abortion roadtrip movie "Little Woods" and will become the youngest person to direct an MCU movie with the upcoming "The Marvels." Her "Candyman" will be a direct sequel to the original 1992 film of the same name, based on a Clive Barker short story about a Black man who was brutally killed for taking part in a forbidden, interracial love affair.

Played in the film by Tony Todd, he returns as Candyman, a mythic, slasher spirit whom the residents of Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project believe is responsible for the murders of at least 25 residents. When graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) explores how residents of the housing project have used the legend of the Candyman to cope with and rationalize hardship, she soon becomes a victim of the Candyman's stalking herself.

The modern, Jordan Peele-produced sequel to the original "Candyman" follows the story of artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), when they move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini. In the modern-day, Cabrini has been gentrified beyond recognition of the housing project of the original film, and is mostly inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials. One day, Anthony has a chance encounter with a resident of the old Cabrini-Green (Colman Domingo) who introduces Anthony to the story of the Candyman. As Anthony begins to explore this legend in his art, he unknowingly sets off a horrifying chain of events that unleash a wave of violence, and change everything. 

To mark Juneteenth, DaCosta spoke on the racial realities her "Candyman" brings to the forefront. "In the real world, we create monsters of men all the time," DaCosta said. "People are murdered, they become either saints or they're vilified.

Creating "Candyman" felt especially relevant during the pandemic, and the subsequent uprising for racial justice following the police killing of George Floyd.

"Throughout the last year and a half, it was always coming back to that truth," DaCosta said. "Horror is a really effective tool when it comes to telling stories that impact us on a social level. The right function of it is to make you uncomfortable."

Abdul-Mateen II has recently starred in HBO's "Watchmen" and previous Peele project, "Us." Parris was recently a fan favorite in Marvel's "WandaVision," slated to play a leading role in DaCosta's "The Marvels."

Take a sneak peek of "Candyman," which includes a look at the film's unique visual style, along with DaCosta's full Juneteenth commentary:

"Candyman" releases in theaters on Friday, August 27.


Kylie Cheung

Kylie Cheung is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She is also the author of "A Woman's Place," a collection of feminist essays. You can follow her work on Twitter @kylietcheung.

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Candyman Clip Jordan Peele Movies Nia Dacosta Yahya Abdul-mateen Ii