“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┬ámovie, 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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