The avenging spirit of a murdered slave returns, and this time he's targetting a school teacher, the daughter of one of his former victims.
Bernard Rose's Candyman - based on the short story The Forbidden by Clive Barker - was one of the most intense, genuinely unsettling and profitable horror films of recent memory. It was inevitable, therefore that there would be a sequel. It was perhaps even more inevitable that the sequel would lack any of its predecessor's finer points.
This time around the action has been relocated from Chicago to New Orleans where it's Mardi Gras and the myth of the Candyman - the hook-handed mass murderer (Todd, again), who appears when his name is chanted five times while looking in the mirror - has the city in its fearful grip. When the author of a book on the Candyman is found slit from groin to gullet, it's Ethan Tarrant (O'Leary) - whose own father was a Candyman victim - who is wrongly accused of the murder. Believing Tarrant to be innocent, his sister Annie (Rowan) looks into the myth and discovers a familial connection that soon proves impossible to deny.
Despite a "story by" credit for Barker, this lacks the first film's twisted sense of dream-like logic. Condon's direction is ineffectual and shorn of the insidious, skin-crawling nature evident in Rose's film, while in contrast to Virginia Madsen's revelatory performance, Rowan is given little to do except scream and squirm. Even Todd's Candyman is relegated to plain old bogeyman status. Indeed, the only thing that retains the power of the original is Philip Glass' score which seems to have been lifted note-for-note.
Nowhere near as creepy as the original, nor as effective a scarer.