IT'S not a reboot. It’s not a remake. It is a direct sequel. Say it five times. Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…is back.

If I were the director of a popular, so-called ‘classic’ horror film, there’s only one man I’d trust today do resurrect my legacy. Bernard Rose has, then, struck lucky. 2021’s Candyman comes from the pen and production company of Get Out and Us auteur Jordan Peele. His director is film festival darling Nia DaCosta and co-writer, Win Rosenfeld, a trusted, long term collaborator.

There is, then, pedigree here. Is it too much to ask that the result might prove a hit? Best not to jinx it. Speaking of which…

Based on ‘The Forbidden’ - a Clive Barker short story from his Books of Blood anthology series - Candyman whispers the haunting tale of vengeful ghoul, who may be summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. A history involving racism, bigotry and murder were added to the narrative by Rose in 1992 and are maintained in 2021. Indeed, as is so often the case in horror franchising, DaCosta’s Candyman offers itself as a direct sequel to Rose’s film, decanonising the Bill Condon and Turi Meyer sequels that immediately followed it in the process.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II leads as Anthony McCoy, a ‘visual artist’ who grew up in the now demolished housing estate that offered the original Candyman its backdrop. McCoy is well versed in the myth of the Candyman and has good reason to believe it. Alas, it is when McCoy uses the old stories as inspiration for a virulent new raft of artworks that a bridge to the past is built and the stage is set for the Candyman’s return.

As in 1992, the Candyman himself is played by Tony Todd, with Vanessa Estelle Williams the only other returnee, reprising her role as Anthony’s mother Anne-Marie. Among the newcomers, WandaVision’s Teyonah Parris plays Anthony’s girlfriend Brianna, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is her brother Troy and Colman Domingo a spooked neighbour with a story to tell.

For her part, DaCosta brings an eye for horror homage to the table, not to mention an ear for the unsettling. There’s verve in her direction and smart use of shadow puppetry to recall a black history entwined with slavery. You don’t usually get such depth in your average slasher.