There’s little room for the recognition of sequels in the horror canon. Most of them can’t begin to capture the glory of the original, while choosing to focus instead on the bloodshed. But while most of us enjoy a good slash or two, true horror films find a way to mix both. Clive Barker’s Candyman found a way to do that when it first appeared on the scene in the early 90s. It found a way to combine the practicality and reality of fear with the fear of legend, while supplying the gallons of blood that so many horror fans crave.
In 1995, Tony Todd came back as the man who plagued the nightmares of so many children. Candyman 2 relocates the villain of the piece and gives audiences a new heroine. It sound ludicrous, after all, he was the urban boogeyman, which is what made it work so well. This relocation to New Orleans feels sudden, but it manages to breath new life into the franchise. While the first concentrated on the claustrophobia of the concrete jungle, this one uses its location to its advantage. It adds an element of gothic horror that does plenty to make the film creepier. The word “creepier” is chosen for a specific reason though. This film doesn’t try for outright scares in many places, although there is one worth mentioning in the opening sequence, but instead chooses to crawl along at its own pace. It plays off the mythos of the first, while using the atmosphere to its advantage. That being said, it’s a good little creeper, but certainly not the supernatural slasher that is the first one.
Part of this is due to the heroine and the other part is due to the treatment of the villain. Kelly Rowan, who many may recognize as Seth Cohen’s mom from “The OC” does her best to breath new life into the heroine. The problem is, she’s not Virginia Madsen. It’s not her fault, there’s no way she could compare, but it does drag the movie down a little. She’s charismatic in all the right parts and terrified in all the others, but there’s not much to care about when it comes to character. The only thing that keeps the audience invested in her may be the sense of duty felt, but not much else. However, on the part of Candyman himself, they make the mistake of giving us too much to care about. While he’s given a backstory in the first film, this one expands on it. It shows his fate through flashbacks in order to garner some sense of sympathy or something, but that takes away the element of fear. When the audience knows all there is to know, there’s no fear of the unknown. Worse yet, sympathy for the character quickly turns to pity. These factors drag down the movie, but in terms of horror sequels, it remains a strong one, largely due to the setting and the Southern gothic horror feel of it.