• R, 1 hr. 39 min.
  • Horror
  • Directed By:
    Bernard Rose
    In Theaters:
    Oct 16, 1992 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 7, 2001
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


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Candyman Reviews

Page 1 of 151
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2010
Adapted from the chilling mind of Clive Barker, "Candyman" is much more than a story about an urban legend turned serial killer. Barker looks at the everyday, the mundane, and twists it into submission. He doesn't believe in the suburban, or the normal. Through the clichés he sees the gruesome world of dreams, the outer membrane that surrounds us all, and from that he cultivates a horror tradition that lends itself to the grotesque. In this film, his tensest buildup to date, he shows martyrdom in the face of evil. Virginia Madsen is a graduate student who searches for the legendary Candyman in the ghetto of South Chicago, inevitably finding him. The story revolves around her seduction, and eventual sacrifice for the good of the community. The film is great for the fact that it builds up its villain, and also sets a mood unlike other horror films. The seduction mirrors the old "Dracula" films, and yet is much bloodier for the benefit of slasher fans, bridging traditions and creating a terrifying narrative where the boogeyman is real.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2010
A surprisingly efficient horror film that is eerie and scary, investing in an atmospheric score and an intriguing mystery about a living rumor who can only exist through his spooky legend - and it firmly keeps its roots in the real world while the gore never seems unnecessary.

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2011
Candyman: They will say that I have shed innocent blood. What's blood for, if not for shedding? 

"We Dare You To Say His Name Five Times!"

I've seen Candyman two times now. The first time I was a much younger person and didn't see the many flaws that do exist within this urban legend horror film. On a second viewing, I still enjoyed it, but there were some huge flaws I just couldn't get over.

This is a movie that is sort of hard to judge. It's simultaneously laughable, but well made. It's simultaneously stupid, but genius. There's a lot of great stuff going on in the movie, but there's also an equal amount of terrible stuff going on as well. The film had the potential to be nearly a top tier horror film, but unfortunately it isn't. It will always be regarded as a classic and that's fair, but it will never and should never be called a great film.

We've all heard about Bloody Mary and saying her name in the mirror. Well, this is the same thing, but with a son of a slave called Candyman. If you say his name five times in a mirror, he appears behind you and... well, you know what happens. On another note, I loved the South Park parody of this, in which they used Biggie Smalls as the guy who appears when his name is said in the mirror. The movie follows a woman who's working on a thesis regarding urban legends. She stumbles upon some stuff on Candyman and her work takes her into dangerous and terrifying situations. 

Far from perfect, far from awful; this movie just happens to be a well known, but plainly average horror film. The movie certainly has its moments. There are scenes that work extremely well. The music is creepy and awesome, and overall the film as a whole is a lot of fun. I think most people could agree with me though, that it just all doesn't come together as well as we would hope.

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2007
A very effective fall from grace sort of horror film. That sounds strange, I know, but that's exactly what I got out of it. Virginia Madsen is good and gorgeous as always, and of course, Tony Todd is very menacing and brings another great performance to his role. I found the film to be effective and stylish for the most part, but it did tend to drag in a few areas - specifically in the first hour. Overall, I found it to be quirky and original... and coming from Clive Barker, I shouldn't be surprised.

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2009
Undoubtably creepy but the plot doesn't seem to have been very well thought out and I got bored after a while. Surprised I got to the end of the film.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

June 18, 2011
Candyman is one of those films I really should have seen by now. I remember the trailer on the Cinema Club trailer reel from a wide selection of videos I owned in the mid 90's. Anyway, I finally saw it and it was great horror. I forgot you could make powerful slasher movies and keep the teens well away. The movie is all about myths and how they can spread and take control. These days myths spread world wide and at a greater rate, thanks to the internet. Candyman really allows you to feel emotions for these characters. Madsen isn't going crazy, but we can't blame people for thinking she is. Tony Todd has a very dominating screen presence, not to mention a powerful voice. The kills all seem necessary in this film, as each one has an impact on our protagonist and the world she inhabits. Finally, we have Phillip Glass' incredible score, which adds a bizarre and haunting atmosphere to the movie. Great horror at an early 90's pace.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

January 26, 2011
Very competent in its creation of an oppressive atmosphere (why won't anyone believe Virginia Madsen?! WHYYY), moderately scary, and surprisingly bereft of dumb behavior, Candyman adequately hits all the bases of a well-crafted, serious horror film. It even addresses Big Issues like race! Aesthetically it feels quite brittle, and although the Philip Glass score is great, there's something unpleasantly garish about the lighting that's emblematic of many horror movies of the period. I guess I just prefer my horror a little more sanguine, or at least not so overexposed.

There's a lot going on in Candyman - infidelity, the dissatisfaction of the lower class, the pressures of academia, urban legends, bees. I think it's a double edged sword in that though it makes the movie uncomfortably busy at times, it also gives it a lot of directions to move in. No one would ever accuse this of being a boring movie, that much is certain. It's trim, so the busyness doesn't necessarily detract from the film's focus, but I think it's just a matter of finding a consistent thematic bridge. At the end of it all, I feel like the movie wants to say something, but doesn't actually do it. Don't be racist? Don't cheat on your wife? Believe in urban legends? Not too important, I guess, but it would have given it that little extra oomph that it needed to forgive its dated look. In this form, it's solid entertainment, but unimportant and bound to be forgotten.

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2011
Candyman has got to be the best Horror film of the 1990's, hands down. The film is scary, Thrilling and original. Based on the Clive Barker short story, The Forbidden, and directed by Bernard Rose, Candyman is a horror film that delivers top notch scares. The film works as a supernatural horror film, and boy does it work. Using Urban Legends as a subtext, Bernard Rose crafts a terrifying blood curdling ghost story with plenty of blood and guts. Producing the film is the author of the story, Clive Barker. Barker's touch for the film is an integral part of this terrifying story. Candyman, unlike horror films after 1996, Candyman is a work of terrifying genius. Candyman is a true horror picture with style, wit and imagination. Also one of the main reasons that this film works terrifyingly well is the fact that Clive Barker himself produces this masterpiece of terror.Candyman is a boogeyman type figure of which if you say his name five times in the mirror, he'll come and kill you. Helen Lyle is working on a research project about Candyman and how he haunts the Cabrini Green housing projects. Candyman has some of the blood chilling moments of any horror film. Watching this film again and again still makes me have a hard time falling asleep at night, and thats a good thing. Candyman is a modern classic of modern horror and delivers the best scares since The Exorcist.
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2010
Though silliness creeps in eventually and possibly the only thing that will have you screaming in the second half is the hapless Virginia Madsen's propensity for self incrimination, I would say that the first fifty or so minutes of Candyman represent the high-water mark of Nineties mainstream US horror, better even than the first quarter of an hour of Wes Craven's Scream. Madsen is superb as the graduate student researching urban legends who stumbles upon a hook-handed bogeyman terrorising the projects of Chicago, and director Bernard Rose creates a terrifically oppressive atmosphere. Yes, it's easy enough to pick holes in the plot - who, for instance, do the police imagine was looking after the missing baby during the month that Madsen was heavily sedated in the mental hospital? - but this is still one of the smartest and most original horror movies of its era. If the more conventional second half disappoints slightly, it's only because the first half is so good the movie couldn't possibly get any better.

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2006
Hardly the most remarkable or original film, but it works quite well nonetheless. I remember so many kids daring each other to look in the mirror and say "candyman" after this came out...and that was back when I was in elementary school, so that just shows you what kind of messed up environment I come from.

Tony Todd is creepy and gives a very effective performances. I also like Madsen, but I think I'm a fan of her brother more. Still though, she's very likeable and does a good job given the material. I think the atmosphere and mood are what really make this film succeed.
Richard C

Super Reviewer

July 23, 2010
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2009
Great Clive Barker story. Only he would come up with an urban legend that stems from the projects. Virginia Madsen was great, she made the movie way more enjoyable and classy. It's got the style of Barker's other films without actually being directed by him. A great original horror movie, even though it's slightly similar to Bloody Mary. It was well made and definitely had a creepy feel to it, which must've been hard to pull off with the subject matter being sorta wacky.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2009
Good horror film, the bit with the bees is great! With a voice like that, Todd was always going to be a good horror villain!
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2009
It's refreshing to finally watch some decent horror. Not a masterpiece by any means, but it still delivers on the goods of an effective villain and some nice bits of gore.

The acting of the heroine is quite convincing, even when her character's motives don't fit with any standard strain of logic. The art and set design here is quite brilliant, very atmospheric and gritty.
Summer W

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2008
This is one of my favorite horror movies. It works for me because it's all about ambiance. Good music, good suspense, less gore. I feel the need to go watch it now.

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2007
This dark and unnerving horror outing based on a story by Clive Barker and directed by Bernard Rose has quite rightly earned a reputation as one of the best horror films of the Nineties.

The story follows Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), a researcher for a University as she works on her latest thesis regarding modern urban legends. After hearing stories about the myth of the Candyman (Tony Todd) she and her friend Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) decide to investigate the myth further. According to the legend if you stare into a mirror and recite the word `candyman' five times then you will call him and he will come for you so obviously that is what Helen decides to do, but it didn't work?.or did it?

?Candyman' has to be credited as at least one of the top five horror films of the 1990's due to its interesting and unnerving subject matter. The story takes the ideas of harmless urban legends (much similar to the ?Bloody Mary' legend) and gives them an evil and physical form. While some people have slated ?Candyman' for ignoring its own rules I don't think it did. ?Candyman' is not a straight forward horror film; there is an intricate plot which requires thought to be fully understood. The Candyman is expected to act one way but chooses to do otherwise, he plays games and confuses people with riddles, why does he do this? Those are the type of things that people make complaints about when talking about this film, he should do one thing but does another, however the reasoning for this is explained in the film if people look for the answer. ?Candyman' itself is a rather interesting and complex puzzle that needs thought to figure out.

Bernard Rose does a great job of creating an unnerving and dark atmosphere which is complimented perfectly by the haunting music. The film has an almost religious feel to it without actually being a religious-based movie and an abundant sense of dread is created through some inventive and impressive direction. Virginia Madsen's performance should be acknowledged as well as she plays her role very well, even generating feelings of sympathy for her character.

The only thing I've heard some of my friends say as a negative is that this film lacks character development. I can't say I agree with this statement but their agruement is while Madsen's character is developed well the other characters in the film, including the Candyman himself, remain rather under-developed. I myself feel that leaving a certain air of mystique to the Candyman is a good idea and enhances the whole experience.
To sum up, for those who haven't seen the film ?Candyman' is definitely worth watching not only for horror fans but for even just casual movie fans. This is a quite ingenious and thought-provoking movie that doesn't rely on gore and cheap effects but rather its self-generated dark atmosphere to provide tension and shocks.

Super Reviewer

October 8, 2007
scary and weird

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2007

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2006
This was nowhere near as good as I remember it being. A ridiculously flawed film, this one. Best thing about it was the Philip Glass score.
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