The Craft was a really significant film for children and teenagers in the nineties. Especially girls. Blossoming young witches who tried to do spells at their sleepovers and hoped that one day they could really levitate their friends using their forefingers. Some of these girls went into adulthood still clinging to their pentagrams and crystals and belief in the supernatural world. A movie about power and womanhood, The Craft was a brilliant nineties horror escapade.
Over 25 years on, and a sequel The Craft: Legacy looks to bring a new generation of witches into the sisterhood.
Directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, The Craft: Legacy revolves around Lily, a young girl who moves across the country to live with her mother Helen’s new boyfriend Adam and his three sons. Though the house seems disciplined and Adam over-baring, Lily seems hopeful at this new future. However, at school, she bleeds through her jeans which makes her a target for bullies, especially the rambunctious Tristan. When three girls – Lourdes, Frankie, and Tabby – save the day, they allow her into their coven. As they begin to cast spells, they soon discover that there is a price to pay for magic…
There have been a lot of remakes this year. In fact, there have been three just this past week alone: Rebecca, The Secret Garden, and The Witches. None of which have captured the soul of the characters. Now, many people, myself included, give remakes are hard time. We shake our jowls and demand that they are defying our childhood in many different ways. As someone who wrapped part of her childhood identity around The Craft, I was most hesitant entering this new version.
But, as one does a coven’s circle, I decided to enter with perfect love and perfect trust.
What I got out of it was a very fun spin on the original lore. Lister-Jones weaves a very modern yet no less mystical take on the original story. Imbued with the spirit of the first movie, Legacy infuses this brand new world, utilising technology, feminism, and modern music into the fray.
The important and most superb part is that the young girls feel like young girls. There is a strong essence of teenagers having fun with their powers, in their school. Plus, they have crazy amounts of chemistry together. A big bravo must go to Cailee Soeny as Lily, Gideon Adlon as Frankie, Lovie Simone as Tabby, and Zoey Luna as Lourdes; they are remarkable as these caring and charmed friends for one another.
Sadly, the movie is choppy, particularly story-wise. It feels cut of at the knees in some parts. For example, the exploration of witchcraft and their new CGI crafted powers are centred in one montage.
In 1996, The Craft was about power and the loss of control; pitting witch against witch in concentrated battle of good vs evil. Here, however, they update it for who owns the power, in an all too familiar parable of our society. The looming threat of man and their controlling, boorish ways are the villains here in more sense than one. In one aspect, it makes for a truly enlightening film as a male character is transformed, unwillingly, through magic. Providing most of the comedy but also most of the soul, this is a mesmerising moment for the modern witch.
That said, it takes the focus away from the three other witches in the coven – Lourdes, Frankie, and Tabby. In the first film, the storylines of Bonnie and Rachel are explored just as must as Nancy and Sarah (the aforementioned evil and good.) All four have reason and rhyme for casting the spells that they do. in Legacy, the girls are here solely to flank Lily as loveable, diverse side-characters who, by the way, as much as Lily is great, totally steal the show.
The Craft: Legacy could’ve benefited from developing these characters more, allowing this new generation of movie-lovers to look at this new batch of spell-casters and relate to any one of them.
Still, I believe there might be enough here to send a new generation of witches on their own path to the spell-binding sisterhood.
The Craft: Legacy is out in cinemas now!