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Candyman | 2021 | R | – 3.9.8

content-ratingsWhy is “Candyman” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.” The evaluation includes an implied sex scene, a couple of kissing scenes between a man and a woman, and between two men, many scenes of horrific violence with slashing and stabbing with a hook and a lot of blood pouring and spraying, depictions of violent acts in shadow puppet skits, and at least 30 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

A re-imagined version of the classic horror tale, with projections about how the legend began and how it will continue as long as racism exists. With Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Vanessa Williams, Brian King, Miriam Moss, Rebecca Spence, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Christiana Clark, Michael Hargrove, Rodney L Jones III, Heidi Grace Engerman, Ireon Roach, Breanna Lind, Malic White and Tony Todd. Directed by Nia DaCosta. [Running Time: 1:31]

Candyman SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A woman lies on top of a man in bed and they kiss (we hear kissing sounds and see their feet intertwined as the scene ends and sex is implied). Two men kiss tenderly. Two men snuggle on a sofa, one man stands up and the other touches his clothed buttock. A man and a young woman kiss, she takes off her boots, he unfastens her pants as she repeats a name, and the man holds her around the waist as she says the name the fifth time (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A man describes a young woman having an affair with a man and that when she became pregnant by the man, he was murdered by her family and townspeople; we see a shadow puppet depiction of the act (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man remarks about another man using morning-after pills to support his summer intern program (implying that a man is having sex with his volunteer staff). A man jokes about necrophilia.
 A man wears boxer briefs in a couple of scenes and we see his bare chest, abdomen and legs to the upper thighs. A woman wears low-cut tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes.


 – A man and a young woman kiss in an art gallery as the woman repeats a name 5 times and when she utters the name the fifth time, her throat is slashed and blood sprays, she falls to the floor and dies with blood gushing from the wound; the man sees another man moving across a wall and slashing artworks with a hook, he scrambles toward the door but it is locked, his Achilles tendon is slashed by a hook, he is dragged backward, slams his head on the floor and he is lifted off the floor by an unseen attacker until he dies (we see the bodies and a lot of blood later when they are discovered). A boy walks to a basement laundry room and sees a large hole in a wall where we hear noises, the boy sees movement in the hole, a piece of candy lands on the floor near the boy, he picks it up and a man with a hook as a hand steps out of the hole with his other hand filled with candy and the boy screams alerting police that run to the scene and beat the man to death (we hear batons pounding on the man, the man screams and we later see crime scene photos of the man dead with blood on his head and the floor under and around him). A woman alone in an apartment is seen being lifted off the floor by an unseen attacker, she is slammed against a plate glass window and blood smears along the window as she is dragged and dropped dead on the floor. A woman goes to a laundromat and is locked into an office where she is grabbed by a man and we then see her tied into a chair; she sees another man in a chair and he seems to be catatonic and badly scarred all over his body with one eye turned white, as the first man saws the second man’s hand off with a hacksaw (we hear the sawing, see blood and the man holds the severed hand), and then shoves a meat hook into the wrist wound and wraps a belt around it; the woman gets away and runs but is chased by the man until he tries to stab her and she stabs him in the throat and then many more times after he falls to the floor (we hear squishes) and we understand that the man is dead.
 5 teenage girls look in a bathroom mirror and repeat a name 5 times (1 runs out before the final utterance); they try to leave the bathroom and the door is locked, one girl goes back to the sink area and we see drips and then sheets of blood pouring onto the floor; the other girls scream and are shown covered in blood and dying in the reflection of a compact mirror, as we hear squishing and slashing and screaming and the killer levitates off the floor and floats in a reflection in the mirror. A teen girl repeats a person’s name 5 times while behind a closed bathroom door; we hear a thud and a splat and when a pre-teen boy pushes the door open to see her body lying in blood, with smears of blood on the floor and walls and a man with scars on his face, swarmed with bees and smiling at him as he climbs out a window. After a woman repeats a name 5 times, a police officer stumbles out of an abandoned building with a large amount of blood on his neck and he collapses dead; another officer shoots at a man covered with blood and the man slashes him with a hook, another officer tries to get inside a vehicle but is slashed and killed (blood sprays on the window) and another officer in a vehicle gets out and is later slashed in an alley. A man moves toward a woman and she raises a weapon toward him, a police officer enters the room and shoots (presumably hitting the man) and the woman cries as the officer handcuffs her and puts her in a cruiser.
 Many scenes incorporate shadow puppets to depict acts of violence with voice-overs describing what’s happening; we see things like a child being kidnapped and being carried toward a large bonfire, a woman walks into a bonfire, a man is struck in the back with an axe, a child is put in an electric chair, a man is taken out of a house by a mob and tied to the back of a truck where he is dragged, a man seems to be dropped on several spikes on the ground, several people are murdered by a person using a meat hook (we hear squishing and crunching). A man describes a young woman being murdered by her family and townspeople; we see a shadow puppet depiction of the act with people beating the man with sticks, cutting off his hand with a knife, smearing honey on him and leaving him to be stung by bees, and setting him on fire. A man asks if he can tell other people a scary story, he turns out the lights, he lights candles and tells a story about a woman going mad and murdering people and a dog (acted out using shadow puppets); he says that she beheaded a Rottweiler, that a woman abducted a child and was prepared to sacrifice the child in a large bonfire but was stopped by a crowd of people and the woman walked into the fire killing herself, and that she was seen doing snow angels in a puddle of blood.
 A man sees the reflection of a murdered man in a mirror; we see that he has decayed, scarred flesh on his face and a hook for a hand as he wheezes and bees swarm around him; the man looking at him panics. A man in an elevator is startled when the car lunges and stops, he presses buttons with no result, picks up a piece of candy that falls on the floor and cuts himself on a razor blade in the candy (we see blood drip on the floor), he looks into the reflection in a mirror on the ceiling and panics when he sees a man with scarred skin on his face and head and a hook for a hand looking back at him. A man wakes up on the floor and finds a shard of a mirror in his hand; he pulls it out and pulls on the nail of one of his fingers that seems to be loose and decaying. A man breaks mirrors in an apartment and a woman runs away from him in fear. A man with badly scarred face, a hook for a hand and blood on his clothing levitates off the ground and is swarmed by many bees.
 A boy plays with shadow puppets and enacts a scene with police handcuffing a man. A man talks about someone passing out candy to kids and that one child found a razor blade in her candy and a man was accused and eventually found and beaten to death by police. A man tells a woman that they should test the tale of repeating a person’s name 5 times to see what happens; she refuses and he starts saying the name as she slaps his arms and tells him to stop. A man says that a horror story describes that if you repeat a person’s name 5 times while looking into a mirror, he will appear in the reflection and kill you. A woman is dismissive and insulting of a man’s work at an art gallery; other people make snide remarks about the work and he confronts them before storming and stumbling out of the gallery (he seems drunk). A man complains about a woman not being able to “control her man.” We hear news reports of 2 murders in an art gallery, one murder in an apartment, and of several murders in a school. We hear about stories of extreme and bizarre acts of violence happening in a housing project. A man listens to audio tapes describing acts of violence. A man says that a man was murdered by being run down and another when he was lynched. A man refers to another man having a “psychotic break.” A woman shushes a man and claps her hands when he mentions the name of a man from a story. A woman talks about her son having been abducted as an infant. A police officer makes up stories about what he thinks happened in an abandoned building where a body was found.
 A child asks a man why he is sitting in a window with his legs hanging outside and the man replies, “Did you know that I can fly?” before he jumps out the window to his death (we hear him yell and do not see the result). A man climbs a fence and walks through an abandoned housing project where he sees graffiti depicting a man with a skull for a head and the man is startled by another man and they talk about how things used to be. A woman wakes in a start and says that she had a bad dream; a man standing in the bathroom says that he did too and he behaves oddly.
 A man is stung by a bee, he swats the bee and it lands on the ground where it is overrun by ants; the man’s hand develops a welt at the sting site and the skin around the sting begins to decay, and it spreads throughout the movie; he wraps a bandage around it in one scene and he picks at the skin peeling a piece off and revealing bloody tissue underneath in another. A man says that another man was beaten so badly that his face was unrecognizable. A pre-teen boy takes a bag of laundry to wash in a laundry room and a woman asks if he can also take her laundry, and when he declines, she says, “I hope Sherman gets you.” Eerie music plays with opening credits and a cityscape turns upside down. A man says of African-American people, “They love what we make, not us.” A pre-teen boy tells an older teen girl, “I’m gonna pee on your bed.” A woman says that she needs to use the bathroom (we do not see or hear anything).

Candyman LANGUAGE 8

 – About 30 F-words, 1 obscene hand gesture, 2 sexual references, 7 scatological terms, 10 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-American people, name-calling (brat, unfortunate, big baby, dumb [anatomical term deleted], salty, combat alley, ghetto, normal, sensitive, crazy, complicated, clichés, your kind, goofy, high, the hood, provincial, atrocity), exclamations (zip it, oh my gosh, creeped out), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, Jesus, Holy [scatological termed deleted]). | profanity glossary |


 – A woman talks on the phone and says that someone should be put in rehab. People drink wine in an apartment gathering, people drink wine and beer at an art gallery exhibition and one man drinks until he seems drunk, and teen girls tease another teen girl about having a hangover. A woman smokes a cigar, and a teen girl says that she forgot her vape in a bathroom and goes back to retrieve it (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).


 – Gentrification, disenfranchisement, racism, Cabrini Green, urban legends, scary stories, demonology, art criticism, creative inspiration, murder, kidnapping, suicide.

Candyman MESSAGE

 – Racial injustice can beget acts of violence and sustain horrific legends.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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