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Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh
Made three years after the success of 1992's original film, Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh saw actor Tony Todd reprise the titular role he's best known for, one of Clive Barker's better known cinematic characters. Barker once again contributed to the story, with screenplay duties handled this time by Rand Ravich and Bill Condon (who has since hit the big time with two of the Twilight movies) handling directorial duties. This marked Condon's feature film directorial debut, he'd previously worked on a few ‘made for TV' projects.
In what is essentially an origin story, Kelly Rowan plays Annie Tarrant, a school teacher who lives and works in New Orleans. She's got a connection to the Candyman (the aforementioned Tony Todd) that goes back a ways as her father was killed by him some years back. Things get bad when one of her students says his name five times and brings Candyman back, just as Mardi Gras is about to begin. She's unsure how this kid even knew about the Candyman in the first place. Complicating things is the not so insignificant matter of her brother, Ethan (William O'Leary), who local authorities figure is the man responsible for a series of gory murders.
Of course, we all know that Ethan isn't the one who killed these folks, not since that kid brought the Candyman back. Annie has to sort all of this out and figure out for herself what her ties are to the Candyman, ties that go beyond just her father's murder to something far stronger, all of which leads her to a remote plantation outside of the city…
The deliberate pacing of the first movie is tossed out the window this second time around for a whole lot of jump scares and unnecessary (and sometimes remarkably ineffective) red herrings, and that's a shame, but despite this Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh is entertaining enough if more often than not fairly superficial. It won't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's really going on with Annie's connection to the titular antagonist. If you pay attention to the movie you'll have this mystery solved well before the big finish. As to how the film explains the Candyman's origins, well, there's some good and some bad here. The ideas behind it are solid and well thought out but at the same time, taking the mystery out of a character like this can often be doing said character a disservice. You almost want to keep this character one that may or may not be ‘real' and to keep the folk-lore origins intact. The story, which is decent enough, takes that away from the series.
It's not all bad though, not at all. The location photography shot in and around New Orleans helps to give the movie a nice authentic feel and ensures that there's plenty of atmosphere. The morality of the origin behind Candyman gets muddled in the end but the buildup is well played, and there are some impressive murder set pieces here with, of course, his infamous ‘hook hand' used more than once. Todd does well in the part. He's not only able to play the part to ensure that he looks like a cold, merciless killer (even an instrument of vengeance, if you want to read into how he became the Candyman in the first place… but we don't spoil those details here), but he's given opportunity to emote and to actually act in the flashbacks here too. He's very good in the part and Kelly Rowan, quite a fetching woman, does fine here as well, creating a character who can't help but be drawn into all of this whether she likes it or not. It may ultimately wind up playing a little too strongly to traditional slasher movie tropes for its own good, but even still, there's plenty of entertainment to be had here. Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh may be inferior to the original as most sequels are, but it still makes for an entertaining horror picture.
Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks very good. Detail is strong throughout and for the most part there are no problems with any compression artifacts. The image is clean, free of all but a few instances of white specks now and then, no serious print damage to note. Grain is evident but never overpowering and there are no issues with any noise reduction worth noting. Colors are also handled well and black levels are fairly strong here too.
The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix on this disc is fine. The track is free of any hiss or distortion and the dialogue is consistently clean and clear. There's some good left to right directionality in a few spots that work in the movie's favor and there's some nice depth audible here, particularly when it comes to the score which is spread out into the rear channels quite well. A DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is also included on the disc as are optional English subtitles.
The extras on the disc start with a commentary track from director Bill Condon who does a fine job here of recounting his involvement in getting this sequel made. He shares some interesting stories about shooting the movie on location in Louisiana, he talks about the effects work and some of the more intricate set pieces in the film and he shares his thoughts on the effectiveness of the script. Condon also expresses his admiration for the cast and crew that he worked with on this picture and generally just gives a solid overview of the history of the film.
Aside from that we get a new featurette called The Candyman Legacy which is a new interview with Tony Todd that runs for about twenty-five minutes. Here Todd speaks fairly candidly about his work on this film and shares his thoughts on the picture. He also gives us an interesting overview of his career as a whole and how he got into acting in the first place. A second featurette called Down Memory Lane is a new twelve minute interview with actress Veronica Cartwright. She talks about her experiences on the film, working with Todd and some of her other co-stars and more. A trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection round out the supplements on this release.
Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh won't likely ever be regarded as an undisputed classic of the genre but it's a decent enough sequel to the superior original film that features some great location work and a fun performance from Tony Todd. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release is a good one, offering the film up in very nice shape and with a few choice extras as well. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.