“The Craft” Movie Review

“The Craft” is a 90s teen witchsploitation film that got mixed reviews when it first came out but has gone on to become a cult classic. I wasn’t a fan when I was a teenage witch but I’ve changed my opinion of the film somewhat over the past 20 years. This review is going to be full of spoilers so if you’d rather be surprised skip to the last paragraph.

Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) is a troubled young woman with strange abilities who is now the new girl in school. She becomes friends with a group of girls who are highschool outcasts for various reasons. Nancy (Fairuza Balk) is treated badly because she is considered white trash by her classmates while Bonnie (Neve Campbell) has terrible scars from an auto accident and Rochelle (Rachel True) is bullied for being African American. The girls worship a God called “Manon” (who is a fictional God created to explain the source of the magick in the movie).

Sarah develops a crush on Chris (Skeet Ulrich), an attractive, popular student. While in class Sarah levitates a pencil and Bonnie convinces the other outcast girls that she should become a member of their coven. Later on Sarah is harassed by a creep with a snake and he gets hit by a car. The girls are convinced their magick caused the event, Sarah joins the coven and they bond as a group.

Sarah goes on a date with Chris, only to find out later that he has lied to the rest of the school about having sex with her and how she was terrible in bed. She confronts him but Chris disrespects her in front of his friends. Sarah decides the most logical thing to do is cast a love spell on the jerk (???). Bonnie casts a glamour spell to become beautiful, Rochelle casts a curse on racist bully Laura (Christine Taylor) and Nancy casts a spell for power. The spells work, Chris becomes obsessed with Sarah, Laura starts losing her hair, the scars on Bonnies back heal and Nancy causes her abusive stepfather to have a heart attack and die.

Nancy becomes mad with power and encourages the coven to join her in the rite called “Invocation of the Spirit”. The idea behind this spell is that it allows the user to call on any spirit they wish. The owner of a local occult shop named Lirio warns them that casting the spell is a bad idea but since they’re teenagers they don’t listen. Upon finishing the rite Nancy is struck by lightning. The next morning the girls see Nancy walking on water. The corpses of dead animals are laying all along the shoreline. In the following days Nancy becomes downright inhuman and engages in risky behavior that almost gets her and her friends badly hurt.

Most of the spells from earlier eventually lead to terrible consequences, Chris tries to sexually assault Sarah after he becomes frustrated that she keeps turning him down and Bonnie becomes a raging narcissist. Nancy uses a glamour spell to look like Sarah in order to fool Chris into having sex with her. She is cock blocked by Sarah who insists Nancy leave with her. When Chris realizes what is happening he accuses Nancy of being jealous. Nancy becomes enraged  and kills Chris by throwing him out a window.

Sarah tries to cast a binding spell on Nancy to prevent Nancy from doing any more harm. The spell doesn’t work and the coven turns on Sarah. They cast sneaky dream infiltration spells and generally mess with her head. Sarah goes to talk to Lirio but since she’s an idiot she leaves before he can help her. The coven try to get Sarah to commit suicide with Nancy cutting Sarahs wrists herself. Sarah successfully invokes a powerful spirit, heals herself and fights back. She manages to frighten Bonnie and Rochelle by showing them images in a mirror of Rochelle losing all her hair and Bonnie with her face scarred. Sarah uses her power to defeat Nancy and binds her so she’ll never be able to hurt anyone else ever again.

Rochelle and Bonnie have lost their powers because Manon decided they had abused their abilities. They visit Sarah and try to be her friends but Sarah basically tells them to go to Hell. When they bitch about how Sarah must have lost her powers too Sarah makes a tree branch nearly fall on them. In the last scene it is revealed that Nancy has been committed to a mental asylum. She has lost her powers and in the final moments she is strapped to a bed, yelling about  how she can fly.

Fairuza Balk (Nancy) is incredible in this film. Even though this character is meant to be the villain it was hard not to sympathize with her and want her to succeed on some level. She has to put up with abuse from her dad and being treated like crap because of her economic status at school. When she finally stands up for herself the powers of the universe say “nope” and side with boring Sarah. When I saw the movie as a teenager I didn’t really like it because the witches seemed like a bunch of snotty jerks but as a middle-aged adult I can at least appreciate where Nancy is coming from, although Bonnie and Rochelle really are just a pair of basic bitches. The special effects are really damn good for a 90s movie and the soundtrack is excellent. This film has a lot of violence and some sexual content so don’t show it to children. If you’re feeling nostalgic for a 90’s movie and you want to watch a goth girl power fantasy check out “The Craft”.-Zwahk (www.commonsensemedia.org)

Published by Zwahk Muchoney

I'm an eclectic author who hails from the city of Seattle.

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