This sequel to director Bernard Rose's superb, metaphorical Candyman is a more straightforward Gothic horror project, discarding any association with the events of the previous film (which was based on the short story "The Forbidden" by horror surrealist Clive Barker) aside from the title entity, played again by the imposing Tony Todd. A melancholy but extremely deadly ghost, Candyman is revealed -- in a compelling sequence of flashbacks -- as the vengeful spirit of Daniel Robitaille, a black portraitist in post-Civil War Louisiana who was set upon and horribly mutilated by an angry white mob in retaliation for his affair with a plantation owner's daughter. In present-day New Orleans, at the height of Mardi Gras festivities (the film's title refers to the literal translation of the Latin "Carnival"), Candyman walks the realm of the undead, with a hook in place of the hand he lost to the lynch mob, waiting to be summoned by the recitation of his name five times into a mirror. The latest victims of his evisceration skills include members of the Tarrant family, with young schoolteacher Annie (Kelly Rowan) next in line. Her family's connection with the Candyman legend is eventually revealed when Annie visits the family estate to uncover the link between her ancestors and Daniel Robitaille himself. This is a well-executed horror film, with fine performances and good use of the subtle menace underlying the Mardi Gras ambience, but the deft hand of Barker is clearly absent, leaving a standard horror plot without the mythical resonance of the original. The chilling Philip Glass score is a definite plus, though.
by Cavett Binion synopsis