The Craft: Legacy Review
In the years since its release in 1996, The Craft has become a cult classic. A tale of power and the consequences of misusing it, Andrew Fleming's film struck a chord with outcast teens everywhere. A sequel to such a beloved film is daunting, and some may say ill-advised, but whilst maybe not having the impact of the original, The Craft: Legacy is a perfectly entertaining continuation that has a strong core theme about personal strength and friendship.
Lily (Cailee Spaeny) is having a hard time in a new school after moving to town with mum Helen(Michelle Monaghan) to live with her new boyfriend Adam (David Duchovny). She finds solace in new friends Frankie (Gideon Adlon), Tabby (Lovie Simone), and Lourdes (Zoey Luna), who want to introduce Lily to the untapped power they sense inside her, power that has its joys but also many dangers.
Perceptions of witchcraft have changed a lot since the '90s and that is very evident here in the wardrobe which is less full black Goth and more nature tones adorned with glitter. In either case, lots of candles are still essential. Also, I want that floral Ouija board. Appropriately then, the energy of The Craft: Legacy is quite different to that of The Craft. It feels less like a power high and more akin to teens just having fun with a sense of youthful exuberance and self-discovery, although the magic effects are horribly cheesy. As such, the conflict of the film is different and very much about consequences, responsibility and sisterhood. However, these girls are still teenagers and very much prone to mistakes. It seems like they could have avoided a lot of problems if things were talked through sensibly.
The girls are fun characters, but the only one we really get to know is Lily. In the first film we got to know the girls more, as their lives and troubles were directly related to what they wanted to get out of practising witchcraft, but here we don’t learn half as much. This is a shame, as all the actresses do a decent job, and I like the way that the girls dress with accents of their corresponding element, such as Lily wearing pearls and Tabby wearing a top featuring a flame design.
The Craft: Legacy is very tied to modern teenage girlhood, and so deals with contemporary ideas such as gender issues. Lourdes is a trans girl, as is the actress playing her, but the film makes it clear that this does not exclude her from the realm of female power. Then there is Duchovny’s Adam. He’s very much a man's man, a broad strokes patriarchy figure with a self-help career that borders on being cultish. These generic traits do not descend into “men/bad, girl/good” over-simplicity though, and the film does address the effects of gender perceptions and toxic masculinity on boys. I would describe it as being very similar in its approach to gender as last year’s Black Christmas. That isn’t a negative, but if you found that to be heavy handed in places you might have the same issue here.
Something that is a negative are parts that feel a little rushed, with no opportunities taken to pause and breathe for a moment. This is definitely more of a teen film than a horror, all of which is fine, although one of the few moments that really lean into the horror end up being completely superfluous. Also, certain questions are left unanswered, possibly out of hope for any planned sequels. That honestly wouldn’t bother me, as along it ofers an opportunity to expand the characters of Tabby, Frankie and Lourdes. The way it links to the first film does feel a little tacked on, and as such is something else that could be developed further. As far as direct references to The Craft go, they are scattered throughout and will either elicit a chuckle or a groan depending how you feel about that kind of thing. But these are all minor quibbles and I hope that it finds its audience as the original managed to.
Ultimately, The Craft: Legacy is fine, remaining entertaining and inoffensive. It works as a continuation of concepts first introduced in 1996 whilst also applying itself to current times. A fun little Halloween watch, get your coven together and embrace your weirdo-hood.
The Craft: Legacy is available to watch on PVOD in the US and in UK cinemas from October 28.