A sequel to Candyman, doubling up as a reinvention, is heading to cinemas this summer from Oscar-winning producer Jordan Peele, with the first trailer now released.
The 1992 original transported the events of Clive Barker’s book from Liverpool to Cabrini-Green in Chicago, a deprived public housing development, and became one of the decade’s most acclaimed horror films. It’s the story of an urban legend that comes to life, of a slave who was brutally murdered who returns when you say his name five times in a mirror.
Two lesser sequels followed but, tidily ignoring their existence, Peele has teamed up with director Nia DeCosta, whose thriller Little Woods garnered strong reviews after premiering at the Tribeca film festival in 2018, for a fresh take.
The plot returns to the same area but with a far different community in residence. The surviving baby from the first film, Anthony McCoy, is now a visual artist who becomes interested in the Candyman legend. The film stars Us and Aquaman’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and If Beale Street Could Talk’s Teyonah Parris.
While Tony Todd, who played Candyman in the original, isn’t featured in the trailer, he’s rumoured to return. When asked, DeCosta kept things enigmatic.
“I really love Tony Todd,” she said. “He’s iconic. I will say, what we do in this film is … what we do in this film is great, Jordan is great, and I don’t want to give anything away.”
She also said that the film, like Peele’s other outings as director, will be a horror that’s heavily influenced by social issues.
“Gentrification is what helped us reimagine the story because Cabrini-Green is gone,” she said. “The movie from the 90s has a vision of Cabrini-Green where it’s sort of on its way to being knocked down, so going back there and seeing what’s happened around that area … what we do in our film is talk about the ghosts that are left behind.”
Peele has called the first film “one of the few movies that explored any aspect of the black experience in the horror genre in the 90s”.
Candyman 2020 will cover the issue of gentrification but producer Ian Cooper has said that it will also take on toxic fandom.
“I think my issue with fandom is that it’s really problematic. It’s probably the most problematic thing facing the genre,” he said. “It typically comes with a dogma that is abrasive and that is more resistant to change and permutation than you would think. I think what we’re trying to do with Candyman is both be mischievous in how we address the relationship to the first film but also be very satisfying.”
Candyman is released in cinemas on 12 June.