Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Release Date: July 9th, 1999 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Turi Meyer Actors: Tony Todd, Donna D’Errico, Nick Corri, Wade Williams, Alexia Robinson, Lupe Ontiveros, Mark Adair-Rios, Ernie Hudson Jr., Mike Moroff, Rena Riffel
aroline McKeever (Donna D’Errico) has been plagued by some disturbing dreams of late, in which she’s stalked by the mythical killer known as Candyman – or Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), her great great grandfather, a towering black man, historically mutilated and murdered for being with a white woman (during the Civil War era), now summoned in phantasmal form by saying his name five times into a mirror. Curiously, his arrival isn’t utilized as a means of vengeance, like Pumpkinhead; instead he tends to torment his caller, demand their soul in the afterlife, and cruelly frame them for his inevitable slaying spree. “Sweets to the sweet.”
With the Day of the Dead festival approaching (a nice thematic continuation from the previous entry’s Mardi Gras setting), Caroline prepares for a show of her work at Miguel Velasco’s (Mark Adair-Rios) art gallery near Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. The subject is, of course, Candyman; Caroline wants to honor the real man, a skilled painter, but Miguel only wishes to exploit the urban legends, advertising the bloodthirsty stories of torture and death to attract greater numbers of potential spenders. He even hires an actor, David de la Paz (Nick Corri or “Jesu Garcia”), to frighten guests at the big opening.
“Believe in me!” After Caroline is pressured into repeating “Candyman” into a mirror five times, she expectedly wanders down a dark alley alone, stumbling into an abandoned subway where an apparition of the real Candyman appears. Shortly thereafter, bodies start piling up – and since the victims are all related in some way to Caroline, she becomes the prime suspect, targeted by aggressive, racist Detective Samuel Kraft (Wade Andrew Williams).
“That’s it. I’m gettin’ you some help.” Within this third chapter to the Candyman franchise, virtually all of the artistry is lost. No longer are there any deeper subtexts, thought-provoking moral quandaries, amusing motivations for character interactions, or the moving music by Philip Glass. Instead, this film is merely a low-budget, pre-sold-concept slasher, fueled by violence and nudity (D’Errico appears bra-less during the majority of the runtime). The acting is mediocre, the creativity of death scenes and carnage is negligible, the special blood effects are generally unconvincing, and the bees are mostly CG (mixed with a few live, stunt bees). It also resorts heavily to cheap jump scares, plenty of screaming and crying, and poorly lit locales with flickering lights (whether they’re hallways or bathrooms or bars).
It’s apparent early on that the story doesn’t drive this sequel; it’s so repetitive in ideas and imagery that, like the second picture (“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh”), it’s as much a remake as it is a follow-up. The characters may have changed, but they’re all counterparts; correspondingly, the locations have shifted, but they represent the same hunting grounds and arenas for hook-handed attacks seen many times before (slashed throats and gored torsos are the favorites here). This tedious exercise in unvarying repetition continuously struggles to justify its own existence; telling the same tale again and again simply doesn’t translate to much entertainment value. And it’s already an incredibly difficult task to top the original 1992 horror masterpiece. By the end, nothing new is offered up; Candyman’s capabilities and the solution to his curse are as ambiguous and ham-handed as ever, while the protagonists are equally as bland and uninspiring.
– Mike Massie