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Jordan Peele and Nia DaCosta’s Rebirth of the Urban Legend ‘Candyman’

Nearly three decades after its release, Bernard Rose’s horror-and-or-thriller flick Candyman is being brought to a new generation. Fresh-faced American screenwriter Nia DaCosta (known for her breakout film 2018’s Little Woods) and comedian-turned-horror-directer Jordan Peele (who captivated audiences with 2017’s Get Out and 2019’s Us) will be reimagining the film. Following over a year’s worth of chatter, the first look of 2020’s Candyman has been released.

The sequel revisits Cabrini-Green, a housing complex by Chicago’s Near North Side, where the original 1992 supernatural flick was set. This time around, however, the atmosphere is a bit different as it’s newly gentrified.

The idea of the Candyman is seemingly an urban legend as the main protagonist Anthony McCoy (acted by Watchmen’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) garners a particular obsession with the killer. The cast also includes Teyonah Parris (from 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk), original franchise stars Tony Todd (who appears to be seen in the reflection of a window) and Vanessa Williams.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Candyman (2020). Image via IMDB.

One of the most interesting aspects of this feature is that it combines the talents of Peele and DaCosta. Peele often takes the symbolic approach with his films which may be a hit, as seen in Get Out, but also sometimes misses, which was the case for Us. Us had the potential to be something fun and an instant cult-classic you could watch over and over. The idea was great, but the execution just wasn’t quite there, which is why I came into this trailer with apprehension.

DaCosta, on the other hand, loves “gore,” as she stated at an early screening of the trailer. “It’s something that Jordan and I talked about a lot. What’s fun about working with Jordan is that our horror aesthetics are different. Jordan is really brilliant at not showing everything and my instinct is to do the exact opposite.”

The film is set to be released this summer in June. As in the original film, which was based on the short story written by Clive Barker (found in the novel Books of Blood), this one contains a certain message of race. This perhaps could mean the different setting represents the overarching meaning of the film. I overall hold great hopes for this film, and I would love for it to trigger more room for black horror cinema.

Featured image via Universal Pictures.

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