Critics Consensus

Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.



Reviews Counted: 52

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User Ratings: 133,966


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3/5

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Movie Info

Researching urban folklore, a University of Chicago student snoops around the housing projects of Cabrini Green to find more about the legend of the Candyman who supposedly appears (whenever one looks into the mirror and repeats his name five times) to slash his victims with a metal hook. Only after she witnesses the atrocities herself, does she believe he exists. To her horror, he wants her to join him in his afterlife dimension. This unsettling feature is based on a short story by Clive Barker.

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Virginia Madsen
as Helen Lyle
Tony Todd
as The Candyman/Daniel Robitalle
Kasi Lemmons
as Bernadette
Ria Pavia
as Monica
Mark Daniels
as Student
Ted Raimi
as Billy
Barbara Alston
as Henrietta Mosely
Sarina C. Grant
as Kitty Culver
Latesha Martin
as Baby Anthony
Lanesha Martin
as Baby Anthony
Bernard Rose
as Archie Walsh
Glenda Starr Kelly
as Crying Mother
Kenneth A. Brown
as Castrated Boy
Caesar Brown
as Tough Guy
Terrence Riggins
as Gang Leader
Fred Sanders
as Cop (uncredited)
Gilbert Lewis
as Detective Frank Valento
Rusty Schwimmer
as Policewoman
Baxter Harris
as Detective
Mika Quintard
as TV Reporter
Doug MacHugh
as 1st Orderly
Carol Harris
as 2nd Orderly
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News & Interviews for Candyman

Critic Reviews for Candyman

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (7)

  • Candyman offers a plot riddled with narrative ambiguities that are never fully resolved, all as a spur to the hooked viewer to spread their own take on the Candyman myth, and so to keep it alive.

    Oct 29, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Candyman is an uppper-register horror item that delivers the requisite shocks and gore but doesn't cheat or cop out.

    Sep 17, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Like so many post-Val Lewton horror films, this 1992 feature starts out promisingly while the plot is mainly a matter of suggestion, but gradually turns gross and obvious as the meanings become literal and unambiguous.

    Sep 17, 2008 | Full Review…
  • One of the best sustained horror movies for some years.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film's spooky atmosphere is accentuated by Anthony B. Richmond's cinematography and Philip Glass's score.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • What I liked was a horror movie that was scaring me with ideas and gore, instead of simply with gore.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Candyman


An eerie, scary and surprisingly efficient horror film that invests in an atmospheric score and an intriguing mystery about a living rumor who can only be real through his spooky legend - and it firmly keeps its roots in the real world while the gore never feels unnecessary.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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