“Candyman” (Universal)

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "Candyman." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures)

By Catholic News Service

Searching for fresh inspiration, an artistically blocked painter (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who, together with his cohabiting girlfriend (Teyonah Parris), lives in a gentrified neighborhood that was formerly home to a notorious Chicago housing project, investigates the urban legend concerning the hook-handed murderer of the title that long prevailed among the once-deprived area’s residents (including Colman Domingo).

What begins, under the direction of Nia DaCosta, who co-wrote the script with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, as an uneasy blend of slasher film and social commentary degenerates, by its conclusion, into a fantasy of racial revenge wholly at odds with Gospel values. DaCosta’s sequel to the eponymous 1992 movie, adapted, like its predecessor, from the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, thus unhelpfully appeals to the audience’s basest instincts in the face of real-life injustice.

Much gory violence, gruesome images, a vengeance theme, cohabitation, a benignly viewed homosexual relationship, drug use, a couple of profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, frequent rough language, considerable crude and crass talk. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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