No stranger to the chilling side of the cinematic world, Candyman director Rose takes an old story and pokes at it from different angles giving the famed monster an infantile nature. Abandoned by his creators at the ‘toddler’ stage of his life Monster (Xavier Samuels) must grow into some form of emotional adolescence without the care and affection he so desperately seeks.
Twilight star Samuels’ gives a stunning portrayal of Monster. The character’s struggle to accept rejection and inability to navigate himself through a strange human world is emphasised by Samuels emotional performances. Expression is key and his haunted eyes layer on the audience’s sympathy thick.
Graphic and bloody, Rose treats the audience to plenty of cranium slicing, brain oozing, face battering gore which adds greater contrast to who Monster is compared to how he is perceived.
Carrie-Ann Moss (better known as Trinity from her Matrix days) plays ‘mummy’ with a conscience. Despite repeatedly abandoning Monster, Moss’ character Marie is caught between affection and fear which constantly keeps her in fight (for Monster) or flight mode, a state Moss delivers well.
The only slither of light to be found in Rose’s dark world is from blind vagabond Eddie (Tony Todd) who for a period befriends Monster without thought.
While Rose strikes an alluring balance between gore and empathy, and does indeed cleverly explore the selfishness and unkindness of human nature something about his rendition feels a little flat in places. However all is forgiven for the intelligence with which he tackles the story.
That said, watch out for the majorly corny ending that ‘unsatisfies’ a satisfyingly poignant scene.