The Candyman Trilogy
Candyman (October 31/14)
Based on a story by Clive Barker, Candyman follows Virginia Madsen's Helen Lyle, a skeptical grad student, as she begins looking into the myth of the title figure (Tony Todd) - with Helen's efforts eventually wreaking havoc on her life and the lives of those around her. There's little doubt that Candyman kicks off with a tremendous amount of promise, as director Bernard Rose opens the proceedings with a striking, memorable credits sequence that's heightened by Philip Glass' ominous score. From there, however, the film morphs into a slow-moving drama revolving around Helen's investigation into the Candyman legend and its continuing impact on a low-rent housing complex - with the drawn-out vibe exacerbated by an ongoing emphasis on Helen's research process. Rose's stylish visuals, coupled with Madsen's strong performance, prove effective at sustaining the viewer's interest through the movie's more overtly plodding stretches, while the inclusion of an unexpected twist at around the midway point provides the narrative with a much-needed jolt of energy. And although there are a handful of effective moments sprinkled throughout the movie's second half (eg Candyman brutally attacks Helen's doctor), Candyman has, past that point, been suffused with a surfeit of psychological elements that simply aren't all that interesting (ie it's hard to work up much enthusiasm for Helen's psychic link with Todd's malevolent figure). The lack of any real scares ultimately confirms Candyman's place as a handsome yet ineffective adaptation, with Rose's art-house sensibilities often at odds with the visceral demands of the horror genre.