Linda Cook review: ‘Candyman’ is succulent, smart horror

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What doesn’t “Candyman” offer?

Polished, dense and smart as can be, this memorable script will have you thinking and feeling while you shudder. It’s one of the most intelligent horror movies since “Get Out.”

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because Nia DaCosta also helmed one of my favorite (and sadly unseen dramas “Little Woods” (see if you have chance – it’s remarkable.)

Because the movie was No. 1 over the weekend box office, DaCosta made history: She’s the first Black woman director to debut a movie at the top of the box office.

Speaking of “Get Out.” DaCost cowrote the script with Jordan Peel and Win Rosenfeld as a sequel to the original 1992 movie of the same name.

The central characters is artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who lives with his girlfriend Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris) in an upscale apartment in what used to be the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago.

The area is beautiful now, but it may be haunted by its past in more ways than one. Anthony becomes interested in the physical history of the place, along with its mythologies that stretch back hundreds of years.

A resident (Colman Domingo) tells Anthony about the urban legend of Candyman, lore that involves race, violence and disaster. The stories inspire his creations, and he begins a new art project.

Meanwhile, might a ghost from the past be close at hand, just waiting for more violence to erupt?

I’ve always enjoyed the “Candyman” films. For longtime fans like me, Vanessa Williams is a special treat in a cameo in which she reprises her role as a woman directly connected to the Candyman story.

She’s only of the multidimensional characters, so well-crafted they will stay with you for some time.

Art is the perfect theme for a movie with scenes that play out with shadow puppets – I’d see the movie again just for these inventive sequences.

You don’t have to say his name five times to appreciate the ghastly touch of Candyman.

4 stars

Running time: One hour 31 minutes.

Rated: R for foul language and violence.

At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; Palms 10, Muscatine; and the Blue Grass Drive-In.

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