Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Candyman 3

After a surprisingly-good sequel in Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, a decline in quality was guaranteed.  How did it come about?  For one thing, the license was bought by another company.  Secondly, the film was made direct-to-video, as opposed to being released in theaters.  Another thing to note is that Tony Todd took a Co-Producer role on the film.  I can't necessarily blame the quality of the film on him, although I should note that the only other film he's credited as a Producer on is Scarecrow Slayer.  No, really.  The big thing to note is that this film follows the adventures of the daughter from the Epilogue of the last film.  Given that that film was made in 1995 and the girl grows up by 20+ years, this film is apparently set around 2015.  Do you guys think of things like that when you write screenplays?  Oh yeah, we've also gone from Virgina Madsen to Donna D'Erico.  Be afraid- be very afraid!  Get out your bee repellent for my review of...

Our story begins like some sort of existential art film.  A woman walks into a disturbingly-white bathroom and sees blood on the wall, bodies in tubs and other visions.  Never mind that it still has a Baywatch star in a t-shirt and panties!  This is also the last time that I will ever compare this film to any art film ever!  After that distraction, we get a long credit sequence shown over a dozen shots of the hook.  Yes, it's scary- move on!  Our grown-up heroine is trying to restore her family legacy, despite the urban legend that The Candyman has become.  She has uncovered a stash of paintings that the man made while he was alive and she uses them for an art show to explain how human he once was.  Naturally, she gets pissed when the art gallery owner advertises it as The Candyman Exhibition!  She reams him out, but he manages to calm her down.  At the show, we see some weird punks that will sort of be important later.  We are once again told the story of Daniel Robitaille aka The Candyman.  I know that you're marketing this to a new audience, but this is also the third film.  If you don't think we know the story, put it on the damn box- not in here!  The difference is that these are done in pretentious flashbacks.  By the way, they re-stage the famous death scene and screw it up, placing it at night and having Daniel on a cross, not the ground.  Did you watch your own film?

After another fake-out scare (see- I told you) by the gallery owner, the party disperses.  Our heroine- still upset at the stunt, takes the subway, only to be confronted by The Candyman, who floats into the shot on a swarm of bees.  You waited until the third film for that kind of entrance?!?  He makes some vague speech about how he's going to convert her and she passes out, ending up outside the gallery owner's house.  She finds him and his lady friend dead, the latter stung to death by bees.  The police suspect her, but also have another suspect: the actor who played a 'crazed fan.'  He shows up at her house later and is a bit pissed, although she manages to convince him to work with her.  A detective from earlier follows them, playing up a plot point that will also come into play later.  They end up at the man's house, where our heroine learns that he has a kid.  He takes her to see his grandmother, who just so happens to be a voodoo priestess of some sort.  I should also mention that this film is set in Los Angeles, for absolutely no good reason.  She warns our heroine about some sort of spirit and cracks an egg, leading to a bee crawling out of the yoke.  Wow, that's so deep!  It means...um, it means nothing.  Moving on...

Things take a turn for the worse as the actor is kidnapped by The Candyman after a drunken night of passion.  Thanks for coming, pal- you get to sit on a cross covered in bees for the rest of the film.  Our heroine returns home one night only to find her roommate being killed by The Candyman.  Our heroine's penchant for ending up near or around murder scenes makes her a more clear suspect, a plot point that was neat in Candyman 2.  Here- it's just kind of 'eh.'  We also steal the 'heroine runs through a crowd from the cop' scene from the last film, although it's during the Day of the Dead Festival instead of Mardi Gras.  One funny bit has a drag queen being mistaken for our heroine though!  After escaping, she is grabbed and captured by the weird punks from earlier.  They talk about being Candyman fanboys, hiding in a tin shack spray-painted to be The Candyman's face.  Yeah, good hiding place!  Anyhow, one of them does the 'say Candyman's name five times' bit and he kills them all.  In the final showdown, our heroine discovers the self-portrait of The Candyman...and burns it, finally killing the man.  Oh yeah, he shoots bees out of his wounds too.  The End.

This movie sucks...unfortunately.  The plot has a few good things going for it.  It attempts to humanize The Candyman a bit more, while also expanding on his past a bit.  I like all of that, but the story just has no forward momentum.  On top of that, the acting is...well, not good.  I can't fault Todd here, as he does his usual 'silent bad-ass' thing to great effect.  No, the obvious culprit is D'Erico, who apparently had people tell her that she should try real acting!  Just a note: you can't and you shouldn't.  Seriously, it's like watching a High School play where the lead actress is played by a Middle-School student...who is not that bright.  She sticks out like a sore thumb, just like the movie's attempts to make some titillation by having her wear small, revealing outfits all of the time.  The gore factor is upped a bit from Candyman 2, although most of it feels the same.  I guess there's only so much you can do with a hook hand, but they could have tried a bit harder.  On the plus side, the bees look cool.  I just wish that Todd and the production company could have left well-enough alone.  You don't have to make a trilogy just to make a trilogy.  This is advice you could have taken, George Lucas!

Next up, Japan brings us a film about girls in short skirts that kick high.  It took 30+ years for you to make this?!?  Stay tuned...

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