CANDYMAN*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
1977 – In the Cabrini-Green projects, a young boy is told by his mother to do laundry. When he goes to the laundry room, he passes some police officers. While alone in the room, the boy hears a man humming, and then watches as the man emerges from a hole in the wall with a hook for a hand. The boy screams, and the police rush inside.
Present Day – Cabrini-Green has now become gentrified. Troy Cartwright (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is bringing his boyfriend Grady Greenberg (Kyle Kaminsky) to meet Troy’s sister Brianna (Teyonah Parris) and her boyfriend Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in their new apartment. While there, they discuss the urban legends from the area, including one of a woman named Helen Lyle. She was a student looking for a story of what happened in Cabrini-Green, but she apparently went crazy and kidnapped a baby before a mob took the baby back, and Helen walked into a large bonfire and burned to death. Anthony later looks up info on what Troy was talking about.
While out the next day, Anthony meets William Burke (Colman Domingo), who tells him how Cabrini-Green didn’t used to have such a large police presence until more white people started moving in. Burke tells Anthony about the neighborhood’s legend of Candyman, a figure of terror. For Burke, he was introduced to Candyman as a child (he was the boy in the opening scene), as he knew a man named Sherman Fields (Michael Hargrove), a local who had a hook hand and would give kids candy. When a little white girl found a razor blade in her Halloween candy, Sherman was the prime suspect. Burke unwittingly let the police find Sherman after he screamed, and the police brutally beat Sherman to death until he was unrecognizable. When more razor blades showed up in candy later on, people realized too late that Sherman was innocent. The legend states that if one looks in the mirror and says Candyman’s name five times, he will appear and claim his victim. Anthony takes some photos in the area and is stung in his right hand by a bee.
Anthony works as an artist and has a display at a gallery where Brianna works. The display is a mirror where onlookers are dared to stare at their reflections and speak Candyman’s name five times. Anthony meets critic Finley Stephens (Rebecca Spence), who criticizes him and other artists for trying to have an outspoken view of societal issues. Annoyed, Anthony flips out at an attendee who asks him a patronizing question before snapping at Brianna’s coworkers Clive Privler (Brian King) and Jerrica Cooper (Miriam Moss), the former stating that Anthony only got into the gallery because of Brianna, but Anthony manages to get a diss in at Clive before leaving.
Brianna tries to comfort Anthony at home. Meanwhile, Clive and Jerrica try to hook up at the gallery after closing. They stand in front of the mirror, and Jerrica playfully says “Candyman” five times. After a few seconds, Candyman (Tony Todd) appears in the reflection and slashes Jerrica’s throat. Clive sees Candyman in the shadows getting closer to him, but even though he tries to run, Clive is slashed to death and has his corpse laid next to Jerrica.
Brianna later finds Clive and Jerrica’s bodies the next morning. This triggers a flashback to when she was a child and witnessed her father jump out the window to his death. When the news reports that their bodies were found in front of Anthony’s display, he has a dazed milky look in his eyes before simply stating that he’s happy he got mentioned, which both Brianna and Troy and disgusted by.
The bee sting on Anthony’s hand grows more rotted over time, requiring him to use a bandage. He later goes for an interview at Finley’s home, where he discusses his feelings about the gentrification in the area and overall. He dares Finley to go say Candyman’s name. As she goes to the bathroom, Anthony is drawn outside the apartment where he looks in the mirror and appears to see Candyman as his own reflection, his hook right where Anthony’s hand is. Anthony leaves, and we see the invisible spirit of Candyman attack Finley in the bathroom, slashing her throat and dragging her face across the window.
Anthony starts to do more research on Candyman and Helen Lyle. At the library, he goes over recordings that Helen (voice of Virginia Madsen) left, detailing what she saw and learned while in Cabrini-Green. While in the elevator, Anthony sees a piece of candy drop to the floor, but he cuts his finger on it because there is a razor blade inside. He is spooked by the image of Candyman again before he flees.
Anthony visits Burke again, where Anthony talks about how he sees Candyman’s victims and is reflecting them in his art. Burke explains that Candyman represents many victims of racial injustice, but the earliest example goes back to the late 1800’s, where a black man named Daniel Robitaille worked as an artist for a white family, where he and the eldest daughter fell in love with each other. After she got pregnant, her father found out and sent a mob after Robitaille, leading to them torturing him, severing his hand, covering him in honey to attract bees, and finally setting him on fire. Brianna sees Anthony’s paintings and expresses concerns for his sanity. When she tries to say Candyman’s name, Anthony smashes the mirrors, driving her away to stay with Troy and Grady.
Elsewhere at a prep school, a group of teenage girls gather in the bathroom to say Candyman’s name after one of them saw Anthony’s display at the gallery. One of them flees before it’s done, and another girl sits in a stall while this goes on. After nothing happens, the girls try to leave the bathroom, but the door is locked. One of the girls goes back to the mirror, and the others only hear the sounds of Candyman’s hook digging into her flesh. The girl in the stall can only watch through a reflection in a small mirror the vague imagery of her classmates being slaughtered.
With his body and mind continuing to erode, Anthony visits his mother Anne-Marie (Vanessa Estelle Williams). He starts to bring up Candyman and what he learned about Cabrini-Green. He realizes he is the baby that was taken decades earlier, but Anne-Marie explains that while she believed Helen did kidnap him, she was actually saving him from Candyman, as he had apparently picked Anthony specifically for a dark purpose. Anthony leaves, feeling that his mother lied and kept things from him.
Just when Anthony and Brianna appear ready to reconcile, they are both captured by Burke. He takes them to a rundown church where he calls the police and feigns a distress call. Burke views Candyman as a symbol against racial oppression and knows Anthony, whose body is half decayed, is set to join the likes of Daniel Robitaille and Sherman Fields as the new embodiment of Candyman. Burke saws off Anthony’s right hand and places the hook there. Brianna frees herself just as the police start to arrive. Although Burke pursues her, Brianna stabs him to death with a pen. Anthony falls into her arms as he is weakened. The police burst in and shoot him dead.
Brianna is taken into police custody by some dirty cops. The lead officer tries to get her to spin the story either to make Anthony the sole culprit of the murders, or make her look like an accomplice. Knowing what the cops are trying to do, Brianna asks to look at herself in the mirror in exchange for saying whatever the cops want. She summons Candyman, and an officer emerges from the building with his throat slashed. Anthony is now the spirit of Candyman, and he proceeds to kill the other officers. The lead cop runs out as Anthony follows. Brianna exits the car and witnesses Anthony kill the cop. A swarm of bees consume Anthony, and he takes the form of Robitaille. As more police start arriving, Robitaille simply has one request for Brianna: “Tell everyone.”
The Cabrini-Green housing projects has become gentrified in recent decades. Artist Anthony McCoy and his girlfriend Brianna Cartwright move into a new apartment there, and Anthony meets a man named William Burke, who tells him the legend of Candyman, a figure who takes the form of victims of racial injustice. The first form of Candyman was Daniel Robitaille, a black man who fell for a white woman and was murdered by her father. For Burke, it was a man named Sherman Fields who gave kids candy and was killed when he was accused of putting razor blades in candy. The legend states that one must look in the mirror and say Candyman’s name five times before he claims his victims.
Anthony uses the legend as a display in an art gallery to challenge people to summon Candyman. Among Candyman’s victims are art dealer Clive and his girlfriend Jerrica, art critic Finley Stephens, and a group of prep school girls. Meanwhile, Anthony’s mind and body begin to deteriorate after he is stung by a bee and he becomes obsessed with the Candyman’s history. This drives a wedge between him and Brianna.
Just as the two are about to reconcile, they are captured by Burke, who wants to use Candyman as retribution against racial oppressors. He cuts off Anthony’s hand and places a hook there, as is traditionally Candyman’s appearance. Brianna escapes and kills Burke, but police arrive and kill Anthony. When the cops turn out to be dirty and plan to manipulate Brianna’s words to convict her and Anthony, she summons Candyman, who now takes Anthony’s form, to kill the dirty cops. Before leaving, Candyman takes the form of Daniel Robitaille and tells Brianna to inform everyone of the truth.