When it comes to the films I’ve reviewed in this series, I can see why others might not be as into them as I. This is not one of those films.
I love The Craft. I think it’s a great film. Fun, well-written, well acted, badass soundtrack, the coolest ’90s clothes ever, which I would totally wear today and, most importantly, it appealed to my 12-year-old desire to be a witch.
As a young girl, I was fascinated by the concept of having the power to create my own world around me.
Also I really like candles. My understanding is that there are a lot of candles.
The Craft made being a teen witch super appealing. But does the movie hold up to my pre-teen memories? I decided to watch and see.
The Craft is the story of Sarah, a be-wigged Robin Tunney, still bald from shaving her head in Empire Records. It’s a good wig, too. I genuinely can’t tell.
I should probably get this aside out of the way early – Robin Tunney is an incredibly underrated actress. I’m not sure why she never really broke out. She’s very pretty, incredibly talented and she’s a Chicago girl. If you haven’t seen Niagara, Niagara, track it down and watch it. She’s truly outstanding in it.
Anyway, speaking of actresses who never really broke out, the film also stars Rachel True and Fairuza Balk, and, in the “she broke out, but then the aughts happened and her career disappeared” category, so does Neve Campbell.
Sarah moves to LA with her family and immediately catches the eye of Skeet Ulrich. The day after getting none from her, he starts spreading vile rumors, which I’ve never understood of high school boys. Dudes, just be nice to the chick till she puts out. If you spread lies, she’ll never spread thighs.
I’m going to be a great mom someday.
Moving along …
The outcasts in school, Neve, Fairuza and Rachel, take pity on her and let her join their witch club. We learn that Nancy (Balk) is an outcast because she’s all gothy and white trashy and also had rumors spread about her by Skeet Ulrich. Bonnie (Campbell) is an outcast because she has scars on her back. Rochelle (True) is an outcast because … I think it’s because she’s black. They don’t really get into it.
After they cause a crazy homeless guy to get hit by a car through mind powers, the girls introduce Sarah to the idea of Manon, their pagan-y witch god, and we learn why each of them had to turn to magic. Rochelle had to turn to magic because Christine Taylor is an enormous racist c-word (censored for my dad who does not care for said word, but Jesus, there is no other word to describe that character). Bonnie had to because of the aforementioned scars that no amount of gene therapy can cure. Nancy had to because her skanky, drunken trailer mom married an abusive fat guy. Don’t they all.
To do away with all their troubles, they bus it out to the fields and drink each others’ blood. Butterflies appear and their wishes start coming true.
Skeet Ulrich starts lovelornedly gazing at Sarah. Bonnie’s scars disappear. Christine Taylor’s hair starts falling out in huge clumps. They dominate at Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board. Finally, Nancy’s step-dad has a big fat guy heart attack, leaving her family with a hefty life insurance payout (which was totally not enough to pay for an awesome LA penthouse, but whatever).
After that, the girls, mainly Nancy and not really including Sarah, get drunk with witchy power. Nancy decides to “invoke the spirit” which apparently involves making small animals explode and sharks wash ashore. Sarah gets freaked the eff out and is ready to quit the witch game, and then their spells start to turn ugly. Rochelle starts to feel guilty about giving the racist bitch alopecia, and Skeet tries to rape Sarah. Nancy hears this and is either pissed for her friend or jealous he doesn’t want her (I think it’s supposed to be both) and uses a glamor spell to pretend to be Sarah and seduce him, then scream him to his death out the window.
This is pretty much the back-breaking camel straw for Sarah and she bounces cult. The girls don’t take this well.
Their revenge exaction is most excellent. They invade her dreams, make her think her dad’s dead, fill her house with snakes and creepy crawlies and try to get her to kill herself. But, see, Sarah is a witch by blood. Her dead mama was a witch, and she’s a good person, so she wins, and Nancy ends up in a mental institution. Eat it, bitches.
This movie holds up. All the acting is good, but Fairuza Balk is goddamn terrifying. And this may be random, but the sets are seriously spectacular. Who ever did the decorating and design is awesome and I would like them to come do my house, please. I would absolutely live in that witch shop. Did I mention I love candles?
One glaring matter, not just in this movie, but most ’80s/’90s teen movies is this: God, actresses used to be bigger. They were still slender, but they were fleshier and had boobs made of actual human fat. Christine Taylor in this movie has almost my exact same body. This is Christine Taylor now. Actresses were allowed to weigh more than 100 pounds, and they were still beautiful. Certainly more so than now. Their heads didn’t look too big for their body and they didn’t have those weird pulled flesh wrinkles from starvation. It makes me sad.
For non-anorexic hot bods and a super fun story of witchcraft and teengirldom, I give The Craft five out of five Twinkies.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.