The Craft 1996 Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
The Craft, like so, so many other movies it seems, has been a movie that I have been wanting to watch for longer then it probably should have been. I think about it, tell myself that I am going to watch, and end up forgetting about it. So, when I set about trying to find a good classic movie to review for Women’s History Month. Knowing very well, that I was not going to be doing a Rom-Com. The Craft came rushing to the front of the line and with the talented line-up The Craft felt like the perfect choice. So lets see if the long wait was worth it.
The movie starts off with three girls holding a ritual of some sorts, followed by a wild title card and we jump to Sarah and her family arriving to their new home. Moving from San Francisco. On her first day at Catholic School, we see the three from the beginning. Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle, and they are in disagreement about whether or not they need a fourth to complete the circle. Nancy being against it and Bonnie pushing for it. While Bonnie was in French class with Sarah. She sees her levitating a pencil up on its point and believes she is the fourth and Nancy immediately scares her off. At lunch when Chris comes to flirt with her, lets her in on who they were. Calling the supposed witches along with several other insulting words. Inviting her to watch his football practice, which she does, but from far away and the girls find her. Telling her of some of the awful things he has done and that he is only using her. Inviting Sarah to come along with them. Which she begrudgingly does. Going off to a shop based around Wiccan belief, candle, spells, charms and such. Sarah doesn’t believe to much of it, but is talked into buying a few book from the Shop Owner. After they leave, the homeless man who was in her house the day before bumps into her and starts chasing her. Screaming about how he dreamed she was dead. starting to chase her across the street. When the three other notice what is happening and they all see him get hit by a car. Which causes them to flee. Once they get to a safe place in the woods are excited. They believe that they caused it because all four of them hoped he would get hit to save Sarah and we learn a bit more about their beliefs. Believe in what they call Manon, which is everything around them. The Earth, plants spirits and life energies and through it, can help them and make everything better. A thought that turns Sarah away. Not believing the pain can just go away and leaves. Going to Chris. When she declines his invitation to go back to his house, she find out the next day, Chris told everyone that she is the lousiest he has ever slept with and treats her terribly when she confronts him on it. Making it seem like she is a clingy creep. As a group the three come together and for a ritual, where she places a Love Spell on Chris and it works. So, they come together for more and the power begins to get to them and this is where I will leave it for now.
This movie does a fantastic job at building the four girls. None of them starting out as evil, just people who are hurting. The pain, both physically and mentally Bonnie goes through from the burn scars on her back. Rochelle being bullied because of her race. Nancy coming off as strong in public, but feeling powerless at home to help her Mom and not having any way to make it better and Sarah still suffering over not having her Mom and the Stunt Chris puled solidifying her even more as an outcast she felt like. They felt like they were desperate to find power, a way to make their pains go away of fell some sort of justice that they never get and are elated when it happens and crushed when it goes south and shows the ugly side of when power corrupts and how toxic it can be.
While this movie did have some CGI, which could be hit or miss, but they had some really great practical effects and prosthetics at work. Camera angle from under the car when the homeless man got hit by a car. An angle that I was not ready for. The blistering scalp on Lizzie and even the burn scars on Bonnie looked good.
The four women involved did such a fantastic job and all seemed to have amazing chemistry with one another. I often forget how good Neve Campbell is. Feeling her pain during the gene therapy session and the desperation of her pleading with Manon during the spell to please take her scars and are elated for her when it happens. Actually soul crushing to see her go bad at the end. Playing so well off of Rachel True’s Rochelle. Who, despite her own issues, felt like had the potential to be the level headed one of the three. Robin Tunney played Sarah to perfection and making herself the perfect foil to Fairuza Balk’s Nancy. Fairuza stole the show with her performance. She was so over the top and seeing her loosing herself to her powers was a sight to behold. Before we move to the next, got to spotlight Christine Taylor’s Laura Lizzie, the racist bully. Her performance in the showers was near redemption worthy. She was a rude, nasty person to Rochelle but Laura did so well in the fetal position with hair coming out in her hands and it just should she learned and Laura did so well. Which brings us to the negative.
It almost feels like they wanted Rochelle to turn on Nancy. Which caused her character to lose a bit of shine toward the end because of her flipping emotions. Had the scene in the shower and see the remorse on Rochelle, but that night she is invading Sarah’s dreams and threatening her in the bathroom. Than she doesn’t want to go upstairs because she thinks they went to far. Only, to come back the next day and taunt her. A Rochelle could have been something interesting and it ended up hurting her character for not picking a lane.
So, as we round this out. What grade will I be giving it. It is definitely a must see if you haven’t and worthy of anyone’s collection. The more and more I think about it, the more I think that it is top tier. Great story, with deep dives into society ills from four different perspectives. Some horrifying and a suspenseful climax. Even has a good kill. So, only one way to go. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.