Candyman parents guide

Candyman Parent Guide

Smarter, better shot, and more socially conscious than the 1992 original, this version of "Candyman" is also less explicitly violent. But it's still too violent and scary for most viewers.

Overall C

In Theaters: Although the Cabrini Towers, Candyman's old hunting grounds, have been torn down, the legend hasn't been forgotten. Anthony and his partner are exploring the past in the newly gentrified lofts...and find more than they bargained for.

Release date August 27, 2021

Violence D
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is Candyman rated R? The MPAA rated Candyman R for bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Although the original Cabrini-Green housing project has long been torn down, the rumors of Candyman (Tony Todd) have never faded in Chicago. For struggling artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), the story of the mysterious killer gives him some much-needed inspiration for an upcoming gallery show – but when two people are brutally slaughtered in front of his piece, the legends about Candyman become all-consuming for Anthony. The answers lie in the past, though, and Anthony’s past has secrets of its own…

Films that reboot a franchise are a difficult tightrope for filmmakers to walk. They must stay reasonably close to the source material and bring new people into the story without boring existing and knowledgeable fans. I’ve seen experienced directors mess it up, so for a relatively new director like Nia DaCosta to do such a good job is a remarkable surprise. It certainly helps that she had Jordan Peele, one of the most promising modern directors of horror films, as a producer and screenwriter. I won’t pretend to know enough about either of them to claim to be able tell who’s responsible for what, but together they’ve made one of the more visually impactful films I’ve seen this year.

The cutout animation scenes are particularly interesting, silhouetting the most basic ideas of characters and using them to explore the characters’ pasts. Several of the shots are strongly reminiscent of artist Kara Walker’s work, which fits well with the story’s exploration of race and violence. But, as with Kara Walker, there are aspects of this film you’d probably prefer not to expose your children to. R-rated slasher horror flicks are typically a poor choice due to the bloody violence. Candyman is no exception, but its violence is considerably less graphic than the 1992 production. There is still, however, quite a bit of profanity.

I know this will immediately brand me a heretic, but I think I actually prefer this film to the original. It’s smarter, better shot, and more socially conscious. Candyman is not just a good sequel: It stands on its own as solid horror fare for fans old and new. And that’s not easy – just look at some of the other reboots we’ve seen in recent years. While it’s not hard to be better than, say Tom and Jerry or Space Jam: A New Legacy, that’s not a fair comparison. This is closer to Doctor Sleep, both in its ability to explore new stories while maintaining a continuing narrative, and in its capacity to scare the pants off you.

Directed by Nia DaCosta. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, and Tony Todd. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release August 27, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Candyman

Rating & Content Info

Why is Candyman rated R? Candyman is rated R by the MPAA for bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.

Violence: People are slashed and impaled, although this frequently happens at a distance, in dim light, or offscreen. A man is shown jumping out a window. One character is shown with a nasty looking skin infection. A character’s hand is cut off with a hacksaw, and a meat hook is jammed into the stump. One person is shot off-screen.
Sexual Content: There are some crude sexual references and a couple are shown kissing passionately but remain fully clothed.
Profanity: There are 32 sexual expletives and 11 scatological curses, as well as occasional uses of mild profanities and terms of deity. 
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown drinking socially, and one is briefly depicted as intoxicated. Adult characters are also seen smoking marijuana, which is legal where the story takes place.

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Candyman Parents' Guide

How has Candyman changed as a character from Clive Barker’s original story, or from the first film? What parts of his character have been abandoned? How does he come across in this adaptation?

Gentrification is a serious problem which disproportionately effects non-white communities. What are some examples of gentrification in your area? What can be done to combat the negative effects of the process?

This film highlights historical lynchings and the ongoing killing of African-American men by police. What is your local history of events like this? How can you help to end police violence? What have your elected representatives said about the issue?