Chicago student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is researching a paper on urban myths, including that of the Candyman, a spirit with a hook hand who appears when his name is said five times into a mirror.
When she hears of a murder apparently carried out by the Candyman (Tony Todd with special vocal effects that recall growling villains from the old He-Man cartoons, with perhaps a touch of emphysema) on a run-down estate, she and a colleague decide to travel there to investigate further – a decision which catapults her into the chilling realms of dread and destiny.
Intelligent, gripping and refreshingly gimmick-free, this adult-orientated study in psychological fear is a breath of fresh scare.
Horror maestro Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden is the inspiration for director Bernard Rose’s electrifying shocker.
Madsen is absolutely terrific, giving a thoughtful and well-shaded performance as the emotionally abandoned heroine, and Rose’s bold direction milks every terrifying moment of this compelling and atmospheric movie.