Fans of The Craft were struck with joy when Blumhouse announced they were in production on the next installment of the beloved franchise. Blumhouse Productions are the makers of films like The Purge, Insidious, Sinister, The Halloween reboot, and last year’s highly regarded remake of the classic horror film The Invisible Man. We had plenty of reason to believe that The Craft: Legacy was in good hands; unfortunately however, we were left wanting so much more.
The TLDR no-spoilers version is this: The Craft: Legacy felt more like the pilot of the next installment to the CW’s Charmed franchise. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, glad it is here because I know it will continue to spread the cultural impact from the first movie to a new generation, but I wish they would have given the incredible actors portraying the witches more to work with. Their acting saved the movie when the plot became incredibly predictable and weak.
Alright, so admittedly, The Craft: Legacy had huge shoes to fill. The blessing was that it was to be a continuation of the first movie, not a reboot. Because of the huge fanbase of the first movie, a remake would have been an absolute nightmare and would not have done well at release. Let’s first count our blessings that Hollywood didn’t dig this one up and screw-it, too.
It being a sequel alone was enough to keep the fans happy, and with a name like “Legacy” we all knew some essence of the first story would make its way into the sequel. Bonus points. All Blumhouse had to do was deliver an installment that expanded a bit on the universe and that continued it into a new generation. They did that, but that is basically all they did. The overall universe is minimally expanded with a rushed (and quite boring) first half and then a slightly intense climax that leaves us wanting more. For me, I could handle that, but there were a few things that were way more disappointing than the mostly flat storyline.
The magic changed, and in a big way. One of the best parts of The Craft, and that left such an impression with fans, was how subtle and natural the magic would manifest. In the first film, when there was something big and flashy, it was at a big point in the story line (the fight scene in the hallway after Sarah reclaims her power, for example.) In Legacy, we have some pretty big acts of power early on that tend to reveal themselves out of sequence. This was most noticeable when Tabby uses her fire fingers to burn off a slur written on a locker, and then five minutes later is shocked when her finger catches on fire seemingly by accident.
To take this observation further, the magic presented in the first film was basically non-existent in Legacy. Aside from a few symbols and nods (mostly out of campy reverence to keep fans of the original happy but sloppily placed throughout the story) we don’t see any recognizable magic from the universe we know from the first movie. In fact, it looks and feels a lot more like the magic seen in the CW series Charmed.
First, Lily can freeze time. WTAF? Not only is this not explained or explored well, but it is probably the most under-utilized magical element in the whole movie. Aside from them using it to freeze everyone in the lunch room so they could mess with people’s selfies, and using it to escape the house they just broke into without getting noticed, it doesn’t get used in any meaningful way, if we want to call those instances meaningful.
Next, throwing energy balls. Again, nothing at all that we saw in the original and because it felt so out of place it was a constant distraction. Even the way the energy balls looked was reminiscent of the energy balls in Charmed. I was waiting for one of them to orb!
Evil Warlocks who want to steal their power. At one point I felt that at any moment it was going to be revealed that the Source of All Evil was behind David Duchovny’s Incel cult. This whole storyline was maddening because, again, this was a very common trope in Charmed.
I could go on and on about the similarities and wanted to make a side-by-side comparison video for you but was unable to snag decent video. Instead, you will just have to keep an eye out for this yourself when you watch.
Probably most disturbing, however, was the characters ease in relinquishing their power. I just can’t imagine that would ever happen, especially because someone in the coven did a spell on their own. Even the padding in the story to explain the significance of this act felt superficial. In the first movie, they struggled to get and keep their powers and didn’t even break out the bindings until there was full-on magical murder. The Legacy witches didn’t even try to find out what actually happened to Timmy. They just cut out Lily and then bound themselves.
The absurdity of this is later echoed when during the final “fight scene” Adam informs Lily that her birth mother, the all-powerful and hospitalized Nancy, gave her power away to him. This just doesn’t add up, at all. Last we saw her she had no power and was in a mental hospital. How did she get pregnant and how did she get her powers back?
The problems with Legacy have nothing to do with the actors, but instead in the writing and production. Both feel like laziness on the part of Blumhouse. Unoriginal, super predictable, underwhelming, and highly influenced by Charmed. They have territory in major horror franchises, but you couldn’t really see that heritage in this film. The truly golden moments, like when the girls first meet in the bathroom, are made only by the alchemy of these actors as the script was a lump of coal.
The movie isn’t all bad, though. Which I suspect will keep it around for decades to come. The characters are lovable, though again, underexplored. The CGI is clean, though overutilized. The story is definitely lacking but does contain powerful moments and those do make the film stand out. We see not only a Latinx trans character, but we deal with issues of bisexuality and bullying. Love all of which will resonate with a modern teenage Tik-Tok loving audience.
Is it a horror movie? There are no shocks or startling moments, the most blood we see in the whole thing is of the menstrual variety, and there is nothing that brings you to the edge of your seat. Taking too much inspiration from Charmed when it should have gone in the other direction, It feels out of place with other Blumhouse titles and in the horror genre. If they were going to model it after any modern pop culture witch icons, they should have gone more in the direction of The Witch, instead. (Wouldst thou like an iPhone 12?)
All that being said, this movie wasn’t made for me and is most likely Blumhouse’s way of reaching an audience that is usually too young to enjoy their films. I knew that going in and as a STAN I happily paid my $25.00. Would I do that again? Probably not.
I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I just wish it had felt more like the Craft we knew and less like a Hallmark Halloween special or the pilot for the next installment in the Charmed franchise.