Review | The Craft: Legacy Brings Witchcraft to a New Generation

Review | The Craft: Legacy Brings Witchcraft to a New Generation

Fans have wanted a sequel to The Craft since the original hit theaters in 1996…until today when we discover The Craft: Legacy 24 years later.

While not initially a hit, the original film developed a cult fanbase in the 24 years since its release. That is largely in part to its unique ’90s goth aesthetic, dark imagery, and fun characters. Oh, and those constant re-airings on cable every Halloween? That probably helped too.  

As time moved forward, the public desire for a continuation of the original Andrew Fleming-directed sleeper hit grew. Yet, the chances of it happening dimmed over the years. Much of the cast had moved onto other things and aged out of the roles. 

Some of the great news from Blumhouse 2020 is The Craft: Legacy was on-demand and ready to consume.

This witchcraft sequel follows a new set of witches set in the same universe has entered production.

Blumhouse 2020 has been busy reaping a harvest of created some considerable news today.

Based on the news from the YouTube conference, The Craft: Legacy is being helmed by writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones. Her career benchmarks to-date has been the 2017 indie comedy-drama, Band Aid; 2015’s Consumed; and as Fawn Moscato in Fox’s New Girl.

Is The Craft: Legacy Divisive or Destined for Success?

The Craft: Legacy follows much of the same beat points of the original film’s plot, but those similarities are only superficial at best. This time, we’re following Lily (Cailee Spaeny) and her mother, Helen (Michelle Monaghan), as they become part of a blended family and move in with Helen’s new husband, Adam (David Duchovny), and his three sons. 

Lily starts her first day at a new school and is immediately humiliated by bullies. While in distress, Lily makes friends with a trio of girls who happen to be witches looking for a fourth to advance their magic inside their high school coven.

The Craft devotees are going to be very divided on this film, and understandably so. The Craft” Legacy is not the film they’ve wanted for more two decades. Original stars Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True aren’t a part of it at all. And, Fairuza Balk only has a brief cameo. 

Furthermore, the original carried darker and more mature themes, such as abuse of power and toxic, parasitic friendships. With The Craft: Legacy, there’s a focus on the celebration of youth, sisterhood, and diversity. There’s far less anger and angst. The film literally sparkles at times with glitter and CGI. 

Sources: Columbia Pictures/Blumhouse Productions

No, this is not your parent’s The Craft. This is very different. And, as others have observed, that’s fine. 

Blumhouse made this film not for nostalgic thirtysomethings, but for the current generation of teenagers and tweenagers. 

As such, the witches aren’t raging against each other as they did originally. Now, they’re raging against the themes of the oppressive patriarchy, xenophobia, and misogyny. No Spoilers on who or what embodies those elements as the film’s main villain, but it’s not entirely shocking. Still, it works and delivers a rather empowering message to the next generation.

Witches’ Diversity

Credit: RAFY Photography/Columbia Pictures

One area this sequel did much better than the first is the diversity of the core witches, but the backstory of each witch should have been used much more to create for inclusion on the set and among the audience.

In the original, one witch’s entire arc revolved around her receiving constant harassment and bullying at school for being black (Lovie Simone). Then, she feels guilty when she lashes out at her attackers (’90s progressivism was odd). 

In this sequel, we have a Latina trans witch and a black witch. While this is rare placement in a film for diversity, equity, and inclusion, their status as minorities aren’t their main motivation or plot point. 

Instead, they are just there. That’s still such a rare and welcome feature in film, but it would have been nice to see more of that mindset play out in the film.

For better or worse, this installment acts more like a TV pilot than a stand-alone film. It’s obvious the filmmakers of The Craft: Legacy hope the adventures of these four girls will continue in sequels. There’s something of a tacked-on cliffhanger as well as some dangling plot threads purposefully left in the film. I would have preferred the film concentrate on being a complete story instead of the first part of something bigger.

Credit: RAFY Photography/Columbia Pictures

Ultimately, there’s a lot of talent behind The Craft: Legacy that younger audiences will enjoy. Will it excite original fans? 

Personally, I enjoyed it but nowhere near as much as I enjoyed the first film. This sequel isn’t breaking any glass ceilings or giving us anything as smart or creative. It’s about 100 minutes of witchy feel-good fun.

But, the fact I described the sequel to The Craft as “feel-good fun” should tell you how different this film really is.

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