- by Jeff Beck
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh: A Sequel As Bland As Its Predecessor (Blu-ray)
1992’s “Candyman” was, for lack of a better word, a disaster. During its efforts to tell the story of a supernatural murderer that can be summoned by saying his name five times in front of a mirror, the viewer could hardly be faulted for wanting to take a nap what with how exceedingly dull it was, but such things happen when a film wastes half its runtime before finally starting the story proper, and even then doing a very poor job of telling it. It wasn’t particularly surprising though as it had what you can call the “Clive Barker Kiss of Death,” which has apparently affected all of the author’s cinematic work post-“Hellraiser” (see “Nightbreed” and “Lord of Illusions” for prime examples). Barker didn’t write or direct (it was based on a story of his and he served as executive producer), but he might as well have with the way it turned out. Sadly, the film was accounted a success at the box office, which of course meant that Candyman would return, and so, three years later, “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” was unleashed.
This sequel moves the story to New Orleans where we follow a teacher, Annie (Kelly Rowan), whose brother (William O’Leary) has been accused of murders that we already know Candyman (Tony Todd) committed. In the midst of all of this, Annie notices that one of her students has been drawing pictures of the legend that has been appearing in his nightmares. In an effort to prove that he’s not real, Annie says Candyman’s name in front of a mirror five times, which eventually catches up with her when he appears at her house and kills her husband. Now she has to learn all she can about his past in hopes of finally bringing his deadly reign of terror to an end.
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” is little more than a rehash of the original film. However, whereas the first film took forever to begin telling its story, the sequel at least manages to start it in a reasonable amount of time. The drawback is that it’s a story that’s not even worth telling as most will have already seen it before in the first film. The only reason this entry seems to have been made, besides the obvious attempts at financial gain, is to try and add more character development for the titular killer, but most of it is what we already knew, with some additional ancestral information thrown in in a desperate attempt to tie the characters together.
There’s simply nothing new here to see, and even if you haven’t seen the original film, this same old story is still just as flat and lifeless on its own. However, once again, should we be all that surprised given Clive Barker’s involvement (once again an executive producer and based on his story)? The only thing that really ends up being noteworthy here is that it basically launched the theatrical feature career of Bill Condon, who would win an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his very next film, the outstanding “Gods and Monster,” later earning another nod in the same category for his incredible adaptation of the musical “Chicago.” I suppose he had to get his start somewhere, but now it’s best to think of it merely as a rung on his climb to bigger and better things (not counting those awful “Twilight” films, of course).
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” arrives on Blu-ray in a fantastic 1.85:1, 1080p High Definition transfer that presents a beautifully sharp picture with very little noticeable grain. The DTS-HD Master Audio has been restored to fantastic quality, giving you all elements of the soundtrack at perfectly audible levels. Overall, the film looks and sounds the best it has in the nearly 20 years since it was released, but no less is to be expected from the masterful crew at Shout! Factory.
Audio Commentary with Director Bill Condon: An interesting and informative commentary with the director in which he discusses how he came to be involved with the project and its making.
New Interviews with Actors Tony Todd and Veronica Cartwright: Two separate featurettes in which the actors discuss their thoughts about the film and making it. They too are informative and worth checking out.
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” is a rather pointless sequel that basically rehashes the story from the first film, with a little desperately added history of the titular character thrown in in an effort to differentiate it from its predecessor. Just like the first film, it has very little to offer other than its bland and dull story that merely wastes a potentially interesting slasher villain. There’s simply nothing new here to see, so in conclusion, if you’ve already seen the original, then avoid the sequel. If you haven’t seen either, then consider yourself lucky.
Available on Blu-ray starting Tuesday.
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