Candyman legitimately terrified me when I was kid, to the extent that I white-knuckled a second viewing in a college folklore class ten years later, still as freaked out by it as the day I first saw it. I once threw a bottle of shampoo at a cabinmate at summer camp because she was pulling that “Candyman” bullsh-t in the showers, is how seriously that movie damaged me. It’s one of a very few movies that really, truly, scared me. So the news that Jordan Peele would reboot the movie did not exactly shine light into my heart, not least because I knew I would eventually have to watch said movie, and while I am a 37 year old adult human, I am also a 10 year old who is convinced a man made of bees with a hook hand is coming to kill me.
Jordan Peele has been calling his Candyman a “spiritual sequel” of the original, and I can certainly see that in this trailer. This movie, which is co-written by Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta, builds off the original lore but brings us nearly 20 years into the present, where Cabrini-Green is no longer one of Chicago’s most infamous projects, but a neighborhood in the middle of redevelopment and gentrification. The original movie is partly about folklore and the preservation of stories, so the part of me that isn’t pants-sh-ttingly afraid is curious to see what DaCosta, Peele, and his co-writer Win Rosenfeld have to say about preserving black legends and stories through the shifting demographics of a black neighborhood. (I’m also curious to see if they touch on the protracted legal fight over Cabrini-Green, with many former residents fighting forced evictions.)
This trailer is really good, and super creepy, and the use of “Say My Name” is spectacular, but I’m also shouting at the screen as those dumb girls say his name in the mirror. DON’T DO THAT. Kids in horror movies are always the f-cking stupidest. Oh, if I say his name five times in the mirror it will summon a bee-demon to kill me? Cool, let’s try it! Shut your f-cking face, CINDY, I just want to make it to study hall without being murdered in the girls’ restroom. Of course, grown-ass man Yahya Abdul-Mateen II isn’t much better, being like, I just found out about this ghost murderer and now I’m gonna do art about it. Literally the only sensible person in this trailer is Vanessa Williams, telling everyone to shut their f-cking faces and not invite evil into their lives. Part of me is like, I love the idea of extending the metaphor about preserving legends for a new generation on the cusp of losing those legends to gentrification, but the other part of me is like, everyone shut up and let the Candyman die.