Is The Craft: Legacy a new cult classic or does it have a premise that’s light as a feather and a plot that’s stiff as a board?
“Ya’ll witches ready?”
Right on time for Halloween comes the new Craft film (hereafter simply known as Legacy). The original film, The Craft, which came out 24 years ago, did relatively well at the box office and despite rather poor reviews, soon became a cult classic. With that said, Legacy has a lot to live up to.
The story begins with three young witches sitting in a dimly lit room. Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Tabby (Lovie Simone), and Frankie (Gideon Adlon) call to the spirits of earth, fire, and air, North, South, and East. But one person is missing from their coven, water, also known as West. Without their West, there’s no way they can do their time-freezing spell. So, despite their attempts, and using what looks like a book you can pick up at your local Barnes and Noble, they fail. But being the outcasts in high school, no one else wants to join their coven. Besides, no one else seems to carry magic anyway.
Enter Lilly (Cailee Spaeny). Along with her mother Helen, she has moved far from their home to reside with Helen’s boyfriend Adam (played by the “he’s still got it,” David Duchovny) a men’s empowerment motivational speaker. Lilly, who was friendless in her previous town, doesn’t expect to make any new friends.
On her first day of class, Lilly menstruates so heavily that it soaks through her clothes, even dripping onto the floor, to the mockery of the class bully, Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine) who compares it to a crime scene.
Lilly flees the classroom and hides, crying, in a restroom stall until the coven approaches her with a pair of gym shorts. They all quickly become fast friends, especially after she throws Timmy across a hallway using telekinesis and speaks to her new friends using telepathy.
From there, the story really takes off. Now that the girls have their fourth, they begin to excel at magic, using it for fun, using it for what they think are morally sound reasons.
“If we get to stage 4, I’m low key turning myself into Kristen Stewart.”
Legacy has several things going for it, with the major players being primarily women, including writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones. It exudes female empowerment and the assaults on that empowerment throughout the movie. If you’re into woke magic, Legacy will provide it in spades.
But Legacy comes with some problems, too. The pacing of the movie is flawed. Despite some attempts at foreshadowing, part of the third act of the film feels disjointed and almost tacked on. I had the sense that the best way to properly understand it, was to see the original Craft, something I’m not going to do again. After all, this is The Craft, not The Godfather series.
In fact, sometimes I forgot I was watching a ($20.00 rental) movie and was instead watching an updated episode of Bewitched—Samantha: the Teenage Years.
The music isn’t bad, but not much of it really stands out as far as the soundtrack is concerned unless you’ve missed Alanis Morrissette.
As far as the acting goes, there is little that stands out. Although David Duchovny reliably manages to make things extremely uncomfortable scene for scene.
“You girls oughta be careful in the woods at night. There’s a lot of weirdos out here.”
“We are the weirdos, Mr.”
This is not to say the film is bad. There’s been a lot of harsh criticism of Legacy out in the review landscape and I just want to say that I disagree. While Legacy is no masterpiece, it is good dumb fun, with the themes being the magic of friendship, girl power, and the heavily emphasized evil of the patriarchy. It works. And unlike the original film, the girls are not punished for exercising their magical ability.
Legacy is unlikely to be a cult classic like the previous film, but I could be wrong. I admit I liked it enough to voluntarily watch it twice, primarily so I could understand anything I missed, but I still enjoyed it on a second viewing. Will I be watching it every Halloween as part of some ritual? No, but if you decide to, there’s no shame in it. I think the same people who enjoyed The Craft will enjoy Legacy as well. Maybe just not as much.