By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Update on classic horror tale is both scary and important.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It may take more than one viewing to grasp all themes raised, from gentrification to artistic appropriation, as well as concept of continuing to tell stories to keep discourse alive. Art (and movies) are extremely powerful, can be easily corrupted, the movie seems to be saying -- but keep "telling everyone."
Positive Role Models
Some characters have achieved success, but no one is a clear role model. Most fall victim to supernatural events around them in one way or another.
Positive representation of Black characters, showing both successes and trials. Characters are realistic and three-dimensional. Supporting cast includes a loving, mixed-race LGBTQ+ couple. A White art critic tries to tell Anthony's story and define his art through her own experiences, which is clearly meant to be problematic.
Inclusion information: Black directors, Black actors
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of blood and gore. Characters sliced up with a hook, killed. Throat slashed. Blood spurts, pools of blood. Bloody carnage. Broken limbs. Strangling. Stabbing. Shooting. Gross hand wound spreading up arm, picking at icky scab, fingernail rotting, peeling off. Child witnesses her father dying via suicide, jumping from high window. Hand sawed off, hook jammed into bloody stump. Finger sliced by razor blade. Arguing. Character smashes mirrors. Broken mirror shards in hand. Scary stuff. Jump scares.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple kiss and cuddle affectionately. Shirtless male. Passionate kissing/foreplay. Strong sex-related dialogue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "bulls---," "a--hole," the "N" word," "ass," "bitch," and "d--k," and "Jesus" as an exclamation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mentions of Zillow, Whole Foods.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine socially, at dinner. Drinking beer at gallery opening. Brief pot smoking. Character briefly drinks alone.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Candyman is a follow-up (but not a reboot or a direct sequel) to the 1992 movie, which was based on Clive Barker's short story. Directed by Nia DaCosta and co-written and co-produced by Jordan Peele, the movie takes a progressive approach to themes raised in the original -- including the power of art and storytelling -- and it's both scary and thought-provoking. It has tons of blood and gore, with several killings. Expect to see stabbing, strangling, shooting, throat slashing, broken limbs, jump scares, a gross hand wound creeping up to the rest of the body, a child watching her father die via suicide (jumping from a high window), and more. There's kissing (both affectionate and passionate), cuddling, and interrupted foreplay; a man is shown without his shirt on. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and more. Adults drink socially and smoke pot.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 6 parent reviews
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In CANDYMAN, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is an up-and-coming artist who's living with Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), an art curator. At dinner one night, Brianna's brother, Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), tells the story of Candyman, who terrorized the nearby Cabrini Green housing projects years ago. Inspired, Anthony looks into the story further, hoping to create a new series of artworks. Then Anthony meets William Burke (Colman Domingo), who grew up in Cabrini Green and had an encounter with the actual Candyman, and learns more. Unfortunately, as Anthony's art is shown to the world, the Candyman legend is reawakened, with horrific results.
Is It Any Good?
Neither a reboot nor a direct sequel, Nia DaCosta's horror movie responds to elements from the 1992 cult classic and moves forward into the Black Lives Matter era, with chilling, brilliant results. Following up on the promise of her powerful debut Little Woods, DaCosta's Candyman -- with help from co-writer and co-producer Jordan Peele -- follows a bracingly logical path through Clive Barker's original 1985 short story and Bernard Rose's 1992 movie, taking the urban setting and the Black monster (played here, as in three other movies, by Tony Todd) and examining them further. With swift strokes, like an artist passionately wielding a paintbrush, DaCosta touches on gentrification, artistic appropriation, and artistic objectivity in fascinating ways.
Using silhouette puppets to illustrate flashbacks and a musical score that echoes Philip Glass's 1992 recordings, the movie asks: Are these artists actual creators, or are they merely repeating history? How does location play into the identities of Black residents, especially when that location was designed and built by White people? Can Black people reclaim their own stories? In one striking subplot, a White art critic tries to tell Anthony's story and define his art through her own experiences. Yet in the midst of these and other timely discourses, Candyman manages to be a brutal and powerful horror tale (right from the start, with its mirror-image studio logos), perhaps even surpassing whatever Barker's original story, or any other adaptation, has ever intended or achieved. A final cry to keep telling stories -- rather than burying them, as in the Tulsa massacre of 1921 -- is an imperative crossover from horror to real life.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Candyman's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies? Why do people sometimes like to be scared?
What does the final message, "tell everyone," mean? What other messages do you think the film is trying to convey about art, race, and identity? The filmmakers have put together resources and organizations that support racial justice and healing; click here to learn more.
Why do you think the movie is set in the art world? How much art is created, and how much is "borrowed" from other places? What does this all mean? What does it mean for a movie called Candyman?
How does this film compare to the other movies in the Candyman series, and to the original story?
- In theaters: August 27, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: September 16, 2021
- Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
- Director: Nia DaCosta
- Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references
- Last updated: February 24, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Horror Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate