The teen movies of my adolescence don’t fare so well in 2020. Being “woke” has opened the eyes of millennials and Gen Zs of today, casting new light on teen drama favs. Just the other day, an Instagram thread debated about Save the Last Dance and its villain.
A ’90s teen drama favorite of my own is The Craft. Here we are some 24 years later with a sequel and ode to the 1996 film with The Craft: Legacy. Directed at the new generation of witchcraft and new-age spirituality, The Craft: Legacy is a strong sequel. Its salute to female empowerment and inclusivity is what we need right now.
The Craft: Legacy is a Blumhouse production, released by Columbia Pictures, and written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones (Band-Aid). Jones brought in her coven of sorts, as most of the department heads are women. The director of photography, production designer, and editor, among other roles, are all women. The film stars Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale), Gideon Adlon (Blockers), Lovie Simone (Greenleaf), Zoey Luna (Pose), and Nicholas Galitzine (High Strung). It also features Michelle Monoghan (Gone Baby Gone) and David Duchovny (The X-Files). The film follows an eclectic group of high school students — Lily, Tabby, Lourdes, and Frankie — as they come together to form a coven of witches. Each representing a different corner (north, south, east, west) and element, the four ladies take on high school with renewed confidence. As they lean into their newfound powers and come into their own, they get more than they bargained for. Like all things, power comes with a price.
The Craft: Legacy captures the major themes of the original while being relevant to today. While the film does use some of the more memorable dialogue from the first film, The Craft: Legacy fully embraces the ideas of women and community. The sequel highlights the importance of women supporting women and holding each other up instead of tearing each other down. The film uses the coven as a representation of community over individualism. It highlights the powers these ladies have when they come together versus when they are on their own. The cool thing about this film is that it’s not only about women in a community but also about engaging the young men around you and finding support with each other. Their idea of power is used throughout the film to showcase what it means to different people. For some, it is order.
For some, it is a fight against patriarchy or societal ideals.
The film isn’t perfect. The first two-thirds of the film comes off as a remake of sorts but easily holds its own by the end. The ending is abrupt and leaves room for another installment in the franchise. Seeing that this is a Blumhouse production, I would not be surprised if there are at least two more in the works. The Craft: Legacy isn’t as mean in its portrayal of high school as The Craft, but still holds a place for representing those four awkward years of your life. What lets the film down is the over-the-top use of sparkly and colorful special effects. Some of the more significant real-life practices, like aura reading and ritual baths, look like they are scenes from a Disney Channel movie. The rest of the film has a desirable suspension of disbelief, which makes it entertaining to watch.
The Craft: Legacy was made for 2020. The music is current and fits well within the film. The writing is fantastic. The language used is very natural. It is smart and edgy. While the story may look like its predecessor, it is not. It is more complex, funny, dramatic, and exciting. The characters are compelling and diverse. Not only is the film racially inclusive, but it is gender-inclusive as well. There are plenty of scare elements that make it perfect for October. The use of witchcraft was well thought out.
Three consultants were used to make sure the script depicted witches and their practice correctly, rooted in actual tradition and custom. The consultants were Pam Grossman, author of Waking the Witch: Reflections of Women, Magic, and Power, Bri Luna, known as the Hood Witch online, and Canadian witch Aerin Fogel. Having different witches with different perspectives gave the script that extra touch of community and sharpened the theme of coming together.
While you do not have to have a thorough knowledge of The Craft, a basic knowledge of the characters will help. The Craft: Legacy is a fantastic tribute to the original while carving its own space in The Craft universe. The film will be released widely on Premium Video On Demand (PVOD) this Halloween with leading digital retailers for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 and for premium digital purchase at a suggested retail price of $24.99.