So, when I heard there would be a follow-up to The Craft (1996) I have to admit being both excited and a little skeptical. There have been successful reboots or a continuation of the story for popular movies and television shows. For instance, Jumanji: Welcome to the Junble (2017) or Mad Max: Fury Road.
But then there are the ones that are either complete duds (Psycho-1998. Seriously, what the hell?) or didn’t live up to the hype or anticipation (Ghostbusters – 2016). And that is where I’m at with The Craft: Legacy. Underwhelmed. Just a little bit.
The Craft: Source Material
When the original movie came to theaters, I was a (very conservative) Christian mom with two little kids ignoring her inner witch. This could be why I loved this movie in spite of my religious views. Here is a brief synopsis of the original film (this is important because the new movie is meant to build from here):
Sarah Bailey is a teen with unusual abilities who moves to a new city with her father and stepmother. She meets Bonnie Harper (who has painful burn scars from a car accident), Nancy Downs (who is poor with an abusive stepfather), and Rochelle Zimmerman (an African American being bullied by a group of white girls at school).
These three girls have formed a witches coven, worshiping a deity they call “Manon”. Also, Sarah is attracted to the school’s most popular boy, Chris Hooker (Wikipedia). Long story short, the coven (who needs a fourth witch) realizes the new girl is “the one” and away we go.
In the course of the film, we see the girls perform rituals, cast spells, and draw enormous power from Manon. All of this leads to trouble (personal and within the coven) and a battle royale eventually ensues. The story explores what can happen when power is abused but leaves an ambiguous ending as to the question overall.
The Craft (as a movie) got mixed reviews. But over the last 22 years has become a cult classic and one which modern witches often point to as an influence or an opening to their path. The story is character-driven, identifying issues such as loneliness, disenfranchisement, power, control, and a desire to belong. It’s also listed as one of the best “witch” movies for both entertainment value and a decent portrayal of ritual, etc.
The Craft: Legacy
Now, here is where I do not want to give too much away (in case you haven’t watched the film). But the basics are not all that different from the source material (The Craft). Lilly moves to a new town with her mom to live with the mother’s boyfriend and his three sons. At school, Lilly meets Frankie, Tabby, and Lourdes, three witches who have formed a coven and are looking for a fourth. They figure out it is Lilly, shenanigans ensue.
The story in Legacy does have very clear demarcations of “good and bad” characters. The coven characters (while not as fleshed out as in the original with the exception of Lilly) are likable. There is a stronger sense of unity (for the most part) among these girls and a better sense of right and wrong, not to mention asking questions about being marginalized, abuse of power, misogyny, gender issues, communication, etc.
So, there are good themes, and unlike its predecessor (which went the scary as hell route in a battle royale between the two most powerful witches in the coven) this one goes for a clear “happy” ending, and zero questions on villains and heroes within the piece.
That said, the story is a little incoherent from time to time. The ultimate “baddie” had me shaking my head asking “why are we having a Charmed moment here?” To me, it seemed as if the writers forgot what universe they were writing within until the climax of the film, and the addendum at the end, which does leave room for a third film in the franchise. We’ll see if that happens.
The Craft: Legacy Is Okay
Perhaps because I had high expectations from the original movie, I expected this film to be less confused as to its universe, even though there were little homages here and there (as evidenced from the above image). While not a perfect film, and a little slow or muddied from time to time, there is a lot to enjoy about Legacy as well. So, while it’s in the “okay” category for movie continuations (not great but not a complete failure), I do advise giving it a chance.
You can purchase or rent Blumhouse’s The Craft: Legacy on Amazon.