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Stars: Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Vanessa Williams, Rebecca Spencer, Tony Todd. Voice: Virginia Madsen

Director: Nia DaCosta

Candyman's back in town - but he isn't half as scary as he was 30 years ago. There's a message somewhere in this one about the gentrification of Chicago ghetto buildings - to the detriment of largely black Americans who live there. 'Keepin' us safe?' says one. 'Or keepin' us in?'

Alas, this theme soon gets lost in the general carnage, as people start saying 'Candyman' five times, whereupon the hulking hook-handed fiend duly appears and slaughters the speaker.

Characters come and go, without much connection between their appearances, while the story - illustrated in the long-past source of the legend by silhouette puppetry; a nice idea but over-used - focuses on Anthony (Mateen II), an acclaimed if pretentious painter who holds exhibitions at a gallery called Fickle Sonance - what does that even mean? - but is increasingly disturbed by the Candyman legend.

'I feel really connected to this,' he exclaims, and so he is, especially when his hand and arm begin to resemble tapioca pudding.

If you haven't see the original, this may give you a few mild scares, but the narrative is too fragmented to build up much suspoense.

Co-written and co-produced by Jordan Peele, but there's little of his Get Out flair here, although a high-rise murder seen from a distance is a nice touch. The director, though, can't, like the bewildered boxer, distinguish between left hook and right hook: we see both on display here.

David Quinlan

USA/Canada/Australia 2020. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 Aug 2021