The brand new Candyman film has finally opened in cinemas after several COVID-related delays, and fans of the 1992 version of the film can expect plenty of references to the original movie.
Billed as a “spiritual sequel” to Bernard Rose’s film, the follow-up continues the story from the perspective of visual artist Anthony, while also slightly reinventing the mythology for the modern era.
Towards the end of its runtime, the film goes in some pretty wild directions – if you’ve watched it and need a little help unpacking, then read on to have the Candyman ending explained.
It goes without saying the following article contains major spoilers for Candyman, so proceed with caution.
Candyman ending explained
Towards the end of the movie, Anthony discovers that his mother has lied to him about his birthplace – and when he confronts her about it she reveals a secret: he was the baby that was saved from the Candyman by Helen Lyle all those years ago.
Of course, while that is a big reveal for Anthony himself, it won’t come as much of a surprise for viewers, given that Universal had made no secret about Anthony’s identity prior to the release, and moreover that he has the same name as the baby from the original film.
But what follows is much more shocking. As Anthony has continued to research the Candyman legend, he has slowly been losing his mind – and the bee sting he suffered after his first encounter with Colman Domingo’s William Burke has also developed what looks like rather a nasty infection.
After Anthony’s visit to his mother, he goes missing, and Brianna’s attempts to find him in Cabrini-Green only lead to her being kidnapped by Burke, who then proceeds to take her to an abandoned church.
Here we find Anthony tied up and in a trance, and Burke reveals his plan: he reckons Cabrini-Green needs the Candyman in order to stave off the continued gentrification, and that Anthony is a perfect person to frame given the “perfect symmetry” of him being the same child taken by the Candyman back in the first film.
And so with Brianna watching, Burke proceeds to saw off Anthony’s hand and replace it with Candyman’s iconic hook, before calling the police – presuming that when they arrive they will kill Anthony, believing him responsible for the recent spate of murders, and thus creating a brand new Candyman.
Brianna fights back and is able to kill Burke, but she isn’t able to stop the police from arriving, and when they do they predictably shoot Anthony dead while also arresting her. In a cop car they then try to coerce her into parroting their version of events so as to escape scrutiny, but Brianna has other ideas.
Looking at the rear-view mirror she says Candyman five times in order to summon him – and when she does so Anthony appears, surrounded by the Candyman’s trademark bees, and brutally kills each of the cops.
But then, when Brianna follows Anthony, he turns around and she sees not her late boyfriend but the original Candyman: Daniel Robitaille, played by Tony Todd. He then whispers “tell everyone” before the credits roll.
The film had been clear from early on that Candyman is not one man, but a group of Black men who had been wrongly killed and unwillingly made martyrs, and Anthony’s death makes him the latest in a long line of Candymen.
In instructing Brianna to “tell everyone” the Candyman is trying to keep the legend alive – and attempting to ensure that the stories of all the Candymen are truthfully told going forwards.