Throwback Thursday: ‘The Craft’ (1996) Movie Review
A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.
It’s been 15+ years since I last watched ‘The Craft’. It has the same feel as teen horror films from that era, like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and while I think it’s a fun slice of horror nostalgia, I wouldn’t say it held up as a classic.
Sarah (Bonnie Tunney) is the new student at an all-girl Catholic school, and she catches the eye of three outcasts with a tendency for the occult. Why is there always a new student in horror movies? Maybe they burned down the gym because of vampires, maybe a pregnancy, or maybe because Neve Campbell was super-popular with Party of Five. Regardless, the three Wiccans (Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, and Rachel True) take notice of Sarah, and introduce her to their semi-coven. As teen horror fate would have it, Sarah’s mom was a natural witch who passed her talent to her daughter.
When they complete their circle with a fourth member, a surge of power and abilities come their way. As in most movies of this nature, fun and games turns deadly within a week. Driven by meanest witch, Nancy (Fairuza Balk), the group watches their pranks go south when personal feelings and darker motives come calling. Love spells run their unnatural course, personal greed escalates, and, of course, one of the witches realizes things are getting out of hand. Too late – there’s no getting out of this mini-coven.
The Craft is fun, but not particularly witty, clever, or groundbreaking. It’s a mainstream popcorn muncher designed to make a fast buck and apparently make sure Marilyn Manson had a female fan base when his shitty metal band hit. There’s some decent acting at times, cool witchy effects scattered throughout, and the standard issue game of “light as a feather, stiff as a board”. How else would we know the group’s collective power is growing, right? If you’re 14 or this is your first horror flick, go ahead and watch without feeling bad. If you’re watching for any other reason, maybe it’s time for a palette cleanser.
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