The Craft (1996)

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 41

Release: 8.11.1996

About: After transferring to a Los Angeles high school, Sarah (Robin Tunney) finds that her telekinetic gift appeals to a group of three wannabe witches, who happen to be seeking a fourth member for their rituals. Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Nancy (Fairuza Balk), like Sarah herself, all have troubled backgrounds, which combined with their nascent powers lead to dangerous consequences. When a minor spell causes a fellow student to lose her hair, the girls grow power-mad.


Treat

  • As with many films of the 90s, this has an amazing soundtrack. From Our Lady Peace to Letters to Cleo, this is the embodiment of teen movies of the time.
  • Fairuza Baulk is incredibly, freakily good in this film. Especially when it comes to her going completely bat shit crazy. I’ve seen a few articles calling her out as the hero of the film and there’s certainly something to that, if she wasn’t a murdering psychopath.
  • The cast on the whole is solid and it took me forever to recognise Riverdale’s FP Jones (Skeet Utlrich) as the ‘heart throb’ Chris.
  • The film deals with some heavy shit and doesn’t sugar coat life in high school the way some others do; self harm, sexual assault and feminism are all dealt with fully and tastefully. However, it is the film’s exploration of racism that really has power. I’d not seen a film like it and it’s fair to say none have since.
  • The theme of witchcraft is something I’d not seen in this way before; dispelling the stereotypes allowing for the film to explore everything from sisterhood to wish fulfilment. It’s something we later see in Charmed, Buffy and Hex.
  • The effects are incredible, even now. I think that’s largely to do with using practical effects where possible. Obviously there’s the snakes and various bugs towards the end, there’s the levitation and there’s the ‘glamour’. However my favourite is when Bonnie’s skin peels away.

Trick

  • For a film that builds up a strong friendship, I struggle that there isn’t a balance by the end. I’ve never really liked that Sarah begins being isolated and alone and ends the same way.
  • As much as I love Rochelle’s storyline with her racist bully and Bonnie’s about her self image, both are sidelined and lack fully development. So often, after the invocation, the two girls seem very out of character and more extensions of Nancy. Perhaps that’s the point, but I’m not sure I like it as it leaves Sarah little room to forgive them.
  • There are two sexual assault scenes. Two! Just repeating that because it’s very important that we acknowledge both. There’s the initial Chris and Sarah scene which is bad enough. Read; he is a dick for what he does. However, there is another involving Chris as the victim. Nancy rapes Chris and it’s something that needs to be acknowledged, on and off the screen, but is lost in his death and Nancy’s unraveling. While media is getting better on screen in dealing with sexual assault, I feel as if this was glossed over a little too easily and could have been a perfect time to explore and deconstruct another misconception about gender and sexual assault.
  • Why the fuck does Nancy say ‘where are you going?’ In some really shit Jamaican accent?! I’ve always pissed myself at that choice of delivery and can ruin the tension built up in the scene.

Final thoughts

A film I enjoy watching more than I do critiquing it. You find flaws when you’re looking for them, and this is one film where I preferred ignorance.

2 thoughts on “The Craft (1996)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.