Written and directed by Andrew Fleming, The Craft (1996), follows a group of teenage misfit girls as they all discover their powerful abilities when dabbling into witchcraft in an attempt to escape their troubled backgrounds. The film stars Fairuza Balk as Nancy, Robin Tunney as Sarah, Neve Campbell as Bonnie and Rachel True as Rochelle. After its release, the 90’s hit film became a cult classic. Now Blumhouse Productions has just released a sequel to the horror fantasy film called The Craft: Legacy (2020). The latest spin off is written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones and stars Cailee Spaeny as Lily, Lovie Simone as Tabby, Zoey Luna as Lourdes and Gideon Adlon as Frankie. Similar to the original film, the new film also follows a group of four teens as they learn to embrace their special abilities. YouTuber Chris Stuckmann, reviews and compares each film. Is it really a sequel or a soft reboot?
Very few films of the era had women who were given power. That was a rarity especially in horror. Women in horror were usually running from something, escaping from something … but despite being written by a man and directed by a man, the movie actually did a pretty good job of presenting bad ass women.
Other than the fact that The Craft is a very 90’s era film in which YouTuber Chris Stuckmann describes as “bleeding out of the screen”, it does a great job in highlighting these four women as powerful on-screen leads, an uncommon attribute given to women at the time. It gives off a very "girl power" moment. Adding to that, the YouTuber especially enjoys how the film gives a great backstory and character motivations for all the girls who use it to propel their eagerness to learn magic and become more powerful:
The film does a surprisingly really good job early on making you care about all of these characters and giving them all reasons to want to be very mad and to want to use witchcraft to make their lives better.
The film starts off great but by the third act, that is where the plot stops making sense in terms of character motivations, according to Stuckmann. In one scene, Sarah casts a spell on a boy she has a crush on in school to make him like her after being humiliated by his false rumors, she begins to treat him like a slave and uses him at her beckoning. A jealous Nancy turns herself into Sarah in an attempt to sleep with the boy, but she instead forces him to fall out of a window and die. In the end Sarah is distraught and her by the incident. This scene completely confuses Stuckmann as to what was the reasoning for putting a spell on the boy and then feeling guilty of his death:
I’m very confused by it. I can’t exactly tell what the motivation is. Did she want this guy to be her personal servant to humiliate him or did she actually like him and feel sorry for him because he does a lot of things throughout the movie to never earn our respect … I don’t like it. It’s a bad storyline.
Despite some issues with the ending, Stuckmann feels a sense of nostalgia for the film and still recommends it to anyone interested in watching.
Does The Craft: Legacy have similar ties to the original film? The film is officially noted as a sequel, yet it feels more like a soft reboot, according to Stuckmann. The new film follows a similar storyline of a new girl in school who crosses paths with like minded girls holding similar magical abilities.
One thing the YouTuber notices right away is the lack of characterization in these new girls compared to the original cast. Much of the film is seen through the experiences and perspectives of one girl, Lily. What about the other characters?
The other three girls, nothing. And I mean nothing … there is no attempt to characterize any of them. I know nothing about the characters at all. Which is a major disappointment and by far my biggest issue with this movie.
Compared to the original film, there are much less witchcraft elements happening throughout the story. Stuckmann feels Blumhouse Productions treats the girls like superheroes in which they are already aware of their special abilities and just use them because they can. It’s tough to care about these girls when you don’t know their motivations, says the YouTuber.
Once the four girls meet in the film, before you know it, they’re doing insane witchcraft … there’s a montage sequence in which all of them experiment with their powers and that’s it … we are sort of denied the fun of watching these girls discover how cool it is that they have all these abilities.
The YouTubers biggest gripe about the new film is the ending in which he feels leave him with so many more unanswered questions and untied plot themes. Who is her mother’s new boyfriend really? Why was her stepbrother sleep walking? How did the mother feel after the boyfriend’s motivations and true identity are revealed?
The last 15 minutes of the movie take a major nose dive in regards to storytelling structure. There’s so many things left hanging when the film concludes that my jaw kind of dropped. There were so many storylines that were not resolved.
In the end, the new film is a major disappointment to the YouTuber, who was looking forward to seeing more of what the original film had to offer. The Craft gets a rating of a B-, while The Craft: Legacy gets a rating of a D. Both films can be found on Amazon Prime Video.
YouTuber Chris Stuckmann rates and reviews movies and TV shows on his channel weekly.