Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie challenges stereotypes about housing projects.
Positive Role Models
The character Anne-Marie is a working single mother living in a housing project; she directly addresses the racism and prejudice she experiences in her interactions with white people.
Violence & Scariness
Gory slasher movie. Flashback scene shows a young boy in a public housing project restroom screaming and crying, lying on his back in a pool of his own blood and covering his crotch after a killer castrated him. Lead character attacked in public housing project restroom by gang members, shown in the next scene in a police station bruised with a black eye. A character is a malevolent spirit who kills people with a grappling hook, slicing them "from groin to gullet." Character struck in the arm with a meat cleaver. Woman shown emerging out of a bonfire carrying an infant who had been left there; her hair has burned off and she has suffered severe burns. Horror imagery, often involving swarms of bees or pools of blood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief nudity, breasts.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Infrequent profanity: "a--holes," "bitch," "crap," hell." A young boy refers to a mentally challenged boy as a "retard."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Character drinks from a can of Budweiser beer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lead character smokes a cigarette in nearly every scene. Other characters smoke cigarettes. Teens drink beer in an early flashback scene. Husband of lead character stumbles home late, tells wife that he's "smashed." Beer and wine drinking.
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 1992 horror film in which a graduate student looking into a disturbing urban legend gets more than she bargained for. The movie definitely has some gory moments. A character talks of how he uses his grappling hook hand to slice people "from groin to gullet" and he lives up to his words. In a flashback scene narrated by a young boy, a mentally-challenged boy is shown lying on his back and screaming in a housing project public restroom, covering his groin and in a pool of blood; it's then revealed that the killer castrated him and left his "parts" in the toilet. Other bloody scenes involve meat cleavers and large knives. Lead character shown covered in blood after these grisly killings. Brief nonsexual female nudity: breasts. The lead character is almost always smoking cigarettes. Occasional profanity, including "bitch" and "a--holes." Some drinking, including a flashback scene in which teens drink and are on the verge of having sex. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While it grows increasingly ludicrous as it goes on, this movie has enough of a solid foundation to sustain a horror film that is as surprisingly thoughtful as it is blood-splattered. Race, class, prejudice, and poverty are almost on as equal footing as the titular character's fondness for slicing people "from groin to gullet." All too often, the "urban legend" theme in horror movies is little more than a pretense to set up gruesome and graphic killing, but Candyman is going for something deeper than the usual gory thrills. The lead character Helen, an ambitious graduate student, is motivated to learn about Candyman for her thesis as a way to stick it to pompous male colleagues and her philandering professor husband. Candyman's origin story is borne out of a racially-motivated hate crime. Both of these driving forces end up giving a weight to the story, at least much more so than the usual "teens stumbling upon an old lake house deep in the woods" premises.
That said, the movie definitely has the proverbial "Act Three Problems." B-stories start to seem more than a little forced. The direct action comes across as a little too desperate to fit the strained logic of the story. Fortunately -- in terms of this being a horror movie, after all -- the gory moments have already started by the time we get to the third act, and these moments and the anticipation of future moments overwhelm everything else. All things considered, Candyman has held up remarkably well, decades after its initial release, a movie that strikes an effective balance between the surreal and all-too-real.
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.