The Craft: Legacy – Film Review

The Craft: Legacy

The 1996 film The Craft scared the bejesus out of me and while the sequel, The Craft: Legacy, didn’t have the same effect, it is still an entertaining movie.

MILD SPOILERS

For fans of the original, the beginning of the plot may sound a little familiar. Three high school girls – Frankie (Gideon Adlon), Lourdes (Zoey Luna), and Tabby (Lovie Simone) – are practising witchcraft and realise their spell is never going to work without a fourth member. Enter Lily (Cailee Spaeny), who moves to town with her therapist mother Helen (Michelle Monaghan) to live with Helen’s boyfriend Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons. It becomes clear Lily has a gift for magic and is recruited by the girls to be their fourth. The girls hone their powers before picking Lily’s bully Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine) to be the subject of a spell. As you might suspect, things don’t end well.

The Craft: Legacy has been described as a soft reboot as well as a sequel so I was expecting it to follow the original more closely, but after the initial set-up of Spaeny basically doing the Robin Tunney role, it becomes quite different, with director Zoe Lister-Jones honouring and respecting what came before but also pushing the story into new territory, trying new things, and giving it potential to continue into a franchise as it links up to the original in a way that fans of the 1996 film will really, really love.

Lister-Jones, who also wrote the screenplay, has cleverly crafted a sisterhood of distinct, diverse and individual characters. She also puts her modern, feminist stamp on it – for example, it features a transgender character (but this is mentioned in passing, it’s not a big deal) and bisexuality is a key plot point.

The movie is fun and entertaining but horror fans may be a little disappointed as it’s nowhere near as dark and scary as the first one. I would say this is more of a supernatural coming-of-age film than a horror and I don’t know which bit earned it its 15 certificate.

In the original, the antagonist came from within the coven and I liked that much better than it being an outsider in this instance. I could have accepted the villain if it had been set up better, if the motives didn’t feel so lame and flimsy, and it felt more convincing. This reveal fell flat and I felt let down by it.

My favourite aspect of the new movie is Spaeny, who was terrific as the newcomer and the audience’s eyes into this new world. She has the most expressive eyes and is super cute so you couldn’t help but care for her. But the rest of her gang of outsiders are great too – I particularly enjoyed Adlon as the wacky and outspoken Frankie.

The Craft: Legacy may not deliver on the horror front but it’s still an enjoyable high school movie nonetheless. I think it’ll be entertaining to newcomers but fans of the original will appreciate it much more, particularly the ending. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

In cinemas now

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.