This hasn’t been the rosiest year for horror franchising, with Nicolas Pesce’s ill-fated remake of The Grudge having already stunk up cineplexes in the US, but 2020 is still perfectly salvageable. Our hopes now rest with Nia DaCosta, director of this summer’s upcoming sequel to the 1994 cult classic Candyman, the first trailer for which arrived online today.
The original film adapted a Clive Barker story about malevolent forces foretold in graffitied urban legends, a premise that director Bernard Rose spun into a commentary on the lingering specters of slavery and racism. He imagined the villainous Candyman as a looming, hook-handed figure full of stinging bees he’d sick on his victims – all elements drawn from his unjust death at the hands of a 19th-century lynch mob.
DaCosta’s sequel sends an artist (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) back to the Cabrini-Green projects of Chicago that set the scene for the original film, now gentrified and converted. The unrestful spirit of the Candyman hasn’t gone anywhere, however, and descends first on a group of foolhardy teens before visiting hell upon our protagonist and his girlfriend (Teyonah Parris).
The rest of the cast includes Colman Domingo (Parris’ co-star in If Beale Street Could Talk) and Misfits star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, but most importantly Tony Todd will reprise his role as the Candyman himself.
As a fusion of generous popcorn entertainment and heady racial allegory, it should come as no surprise that Jordan Peele‘s got a hand in all this. He produced the film, and along with longtime collaborator Win Rosenfeld, he shares screenplay credit with DaCosta. The moment with the clap-and-shush smacks strongly of the “no, no, no-no-no-no” bit from Get Out’s housekeeper.
With a plum release date in the early weeks of summer and a starring turn from recently minted sex symbol Abdul-Mateen, it’s poised to make Get Out-sized money, too. But whether the trailer’s spooky cover version of “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child will appear in the finished film remains a question of burning interest.
Candyman comes to the US and UK on 12 June.
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