Candyman Director Nia DaCosta Shares the Film’s Haunting Animated Trailer

Nia DaCosta, director of the forthcoming Candyman reboot, has shared a powerful animated short film that doubles as a trailer for the movie. Told through Manual Cinema’s shadow puppetry and scored by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, the animation tells the tale of the Candyman legend, juxtaposed with the story of an artist commemorating real victims of anti-Black racism and violence.

“CANDYMAN, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs,” DaCosta captioned the short film. “The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been.”

In a follow-up tweet, DaCosta said that viewers can expect “much more where that came from” when the film premieres this fall. Both a reboot and “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror classic starring Tony Todd, the 2020 Candyman centers on Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a Black artist working on a project dedicated to the memory of the titular ghost. As in the first film, the Candyman was a 19th century artist commissioned to paint a white woman’s portrait and lynched by a white mob when they discovered their affair. But while he haunted the residents of Cabrini-Green in the first Candyman, the housing project was demolished in 2011. Now, in the sequel, McCoy is exhibiting his show in the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where Cabrini-Green once stood, inviting gallery-goers to try and summon the Candyman.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis, from Universal:

For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.

With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

Candyman also stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Vanessa Williams, and reportedly Tony Todd in an undisclosed role. The screenplay is by DaCosta, Win Rosenfeld, and Jordan Peele, who’s also producing alongside Rosenfeld and Ian Cooper. It arrives in theaters September 25, 2020.

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