An excerpt from my script review for Candyman (2021) which will be available 09/07/21:
2.) Plot Stability
Let me reiterate that this review is of an early draft, and although similar to the final product, some of the plot and characters were improved according to you, our noble readers.
Having said that there were two glaring issues that took away from the “horror” of this installment.
Catching the audience up.
We follow Anthony, who’s apparently researching the history of The Candyman for…his street art?
This angle didn’t really make sense, aside from it being an excuse to deliver all the exposition of what happened in the original.
The project didn’t seem to rely on the audience having prior knowledge of the first film which led to about a third of the beginning dealing with what happened thirty or so years ago.
There was very little early sprinklings of horror due to this, except for the occasional flashback, at times even calling back to original footage.
If you’re going to do a reboot/sequel you need to be sure it’s of a franchise that deserves it.
Spending this much time on an exposition dump challenges that notion, and wastes precious scare time the audience paid for.
Have faith in yourself and your writing.
If a project sequel is worth it, the audience will have a basic understanding.
And if not, your writing should be strong enough that the story delivers the basics via a narrative that stands on its own feet.
Tackling social issues.
Another example of a project trying to argue against gentrification of urban neighborhoods, only to fall short.
As I stated in my review of In the Heights this is a topic that does warrant serious discussion, but projects in film and television only seem to argue against it in a half-assed nature.
In the case of Candyman we’re treated to these skinhead-esque white college guys who drop the N-word while beating the shit out of Anthony only to deliver our first scene of the a bloody hook in action.
I had to stop and ask myself, “Is this a real problem?” Are the redeveloped neighborhoods truly this racially divided?
(Asked with sincerity as the portions of the city near me could easily be deemed “liberal” with folks living in a modern melting pot, granted with problems of affordability and access, but nothing close to all out racial wars.)
The next issue suggested is police brutality.
Multiple times characters mention that this person or that person isn’t around due to dying at the hands of police officers.
Again, another issue that should genuinely be considered by society, but here it only seems to serve the purpose of giving the characters someone to fight against.
Shouldn’t that be The Candyman?
Listen, I’m all for having a serious discussion about racial equality in regards to law enforcement, I just don’t think this is the proper project for it.
An example towards the end has Brianna come busting out of a pawn shop, cut up, stabbed, and bloody only to have the police gun her down because she’s holding the knife she was just stabbed with.
No warning, just shots fired.
And on top of that she’s that bad off and not going to the hospital?!
It didn’t make sense other than to make the police the “bad guys” and justify the Candyman going to town on them.
Was the detective an asshole? Sure.
Did he make the wrong assumptions about Anthony? Sort of…?
(Looking back on the “twists” of the story it can easily be argued he committed those crimes in some sort of trance employed as a lame plot device.)
The script took so much time with the exposition and half assed attempts at presenting social issues that by the time we got to the horror of it all we were left with a muddled mess.
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