With Halloween on Friday, I picked an old favorite for a rewatch over the weekend. The Craft, yes, The Craft. I have so many feelings about The Craft.
First of all, this was a cheap DVD from Walmart and it was a little blurry. I’m not sure if this is because of the cheapness of the DVD or if it always looked that way. The Craft was released in 1996 (I thought it was way older), and cost $15 million to make. That’s seems like a lot of money. Is that a lot for a movie in 1996?
Onto the plot. Three misfit girls who practice witchcraft find a fourth to “call the corners” in the new girl at school. The new girl, Sarah (Robin Tunney) has secrets and issues. Her mom is dead. She’s tried to kill herself. Lead witch Nancy (Fairuza Balk) says this is “punk rock.” Sarah is also a “natural witch” as is declared by the proprietor of the local witch shop. With the increase in their powers, the girls use spells to vanquish their enemies or improve their lives. Sarah wants a jackass to like her, Nancy wants out of her trailer home, Rochelle (Rachel True) wants to smite her racist swim competitor, and Bonnie (Neve Campbell) wants her scars to disappear (and finally wash her greasy hair, I guess). It doesn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong.
The actresses are great, especially Fairuza Balk who went all in as the demented, power hungry Nancy. She embraces the crazy, campiness of the character. Robin Tunney is an expert at crying a single tear. Just one tear. She plays this sympathetic character well, as this “good girl” is obviously the one we’re to root for. She definitely has a Bella Swan vibe to her. The other two ladies, played by Neve and Rachel, were actually compelling characters with real problems until the last third of the movie. I’ll get to that.
The adults though, where did they find these people? When they were present at all, they are caricatures of real humans. The homeless guy with the snake, I don’t even know what his purpose was other than to die in the first ten minutes. Nancy’s mom gives the worst drunk person impression ever. Sarah’s dad is more like a creepy uncle than a parent. I loved the last scene when he walks by, waves and says, “Hi girls!” like “No, nothing weird happened here.” The only decent adult part was the lady witch store owner. I got to say though I hope she had a second source of income because her only customers stole from her, something she knew. Even if she wasn’t a witch, she’d be an idiot not to know. She should have gave those moochers warts.
Despite the campy beginning of the film (the snake guy, the bad date, Nancy’s trailer), I thought the first part was the best part. It’s all “Yay! Girl Power!” After the girls “invoke the spirit” things get crazy. After the douchey football dude attempts raping Sarah, Nancy tries to sleep with him in some weird power grab. Who even wants this guy? Ovaries before brovaries, ladies. Plus, Rochelle and Bonnie become puppets of Nancy and lose all agency of their own. If they had any sense, they would side with Sarah who is less crazy and more gifted.
The Craft is so 90s. The soundtrack features songs from Elastica and Matthew Sweet. The clothes! Chunky heels, stockings, crop tops, nose piercings. Nancy rocks the goth look.
The Craft passes the Bechdel test, since they aren’t always discussing boys. These ladies don’t need saving from a boy either. They fight it out amongst themselves. It had some unintentionally funny moments, like Sarah’s flailing run down a dark alley. It’s a bit goofy. It’s not scary, if that is an issue for you. If you are of my vintage, you’ll enjoy this blast from the past.