This classy re-imagining of the iconic Nineties slasher has producer Jordan Peele’s (director of Get Out) finger-prints all over it – even though its methodical pacing might not leave a sweet taste in everyone’s mouth.

There’s no denying that this re-tooling of the legendary candy-enticing, hook-handed killer ‘Candyman’ – which is actually more of a slow-burn thriller than a typical horror – oozes modern production nuances, from the targeted up-and-coming Hollywood talent and brooding musical score, to Nia DaCosta’s visceral direction and thought-provoking social messaging.

And for that it should gain immense plaudits.

But a typical scare-fest it’s not. Think the recent take on The Suicide Squad. Critically-lauded, but maybe not exactly what your play-by-play veteran cinema-goer may be expecting to crunch their popcorn too.

Yes, the slashing does arrive – if a little later than some may expect – but maybe not quick enough for your quintessential fan of the genre.

Growing Hollywood star Abdul-Mateen II – who spread his wings in blockbusters such as Aquaman (as villain Black Manta) and acclaimed TV series like Watchmen (which he won an Emmy for) – stars as burgeoning Chicago artist Anthony McCoy, a man who gets drawn into the lore of the ‘Candyman’ when the brother of his girlfriend, art gallery director Brianna (Wandavision’s Teyonah Parris), tells them of the legend to ‘spook’ them.

Intrigued by the story, McCoy heads to the derelict ghetto projects of Cabrini-Green to get inspiration for his next major artistic presentation.

But when it gains notoriety due to the supposed myth of saying the name ‘Candyman’ five times in a mirror, death seems to follow him. Especially after being bitten by a bee associated with the killer being not one person – cue the original ‘Candyman’ Tony Todd on ‘fanboy’ cameo duties – but a supernatural ‘hive’ formulating a deadly spirit that has passed between people from the late nineteenth century.

And all this comes about in a chillingly-understated and thoughtfully-devised fashion –headlined by Abdul-Mateen II’s impressively-subtle lead turn – just don’t expect an all-out ‘slash fest’ as this is definitely a ‘thinker’s horror’.

Dare you say his name five times...

ESP Rating: 3.5/5

Gavin Miller

Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen Ii, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Brian King, Kyle Kaminsky, Miriam Moss, Vanessa Williams, Rebecca Spence, Michael Hargrove & Tony Todd

Running Time: 1 Hr 31 Mins

Director: Nia Dacosta