While re-watching the 1996 cult-classic The Craft, it was actually wonderful to realize how quickly I was sucked into the film. There is truly electric chemistry between the cast, and I loved watching them get revenge and thrive in a post-Clueless Los Angeles. However, when the dreaded third act begins, everything starts going to shit.
One of the amazing things about The Craft is that, despite the way it has been claimed for an entire generation of weirdos, it is sad how the movie turns against those weirdos in the end. Especially by siding with the more normy one of the bunch.
Not to say that Sarah (Robin Tunney) doesn’t have her own problems. She’s got a dead mother, a history of mental illness issues, and the general ennui that comes from uprooting your life for the sake of a parent’s new beginning. But in comparison to Nancy’s (Fairuza Balk) life of poverty, domestic abuse, and implied rape; Bonnie’s (Neve Campbell) scars from an auto accident that have forced her to shrink into herself; Rochelle (Rachel True) dealing with racist bullying from a group of white girls … all of which just feels bigger.
So it feels very contrived when the movie turns on the trio without any sort of empathy for them. Watching a group of female friends fall apart on behalf of a slut-shaming, implied rapist pre-Scream Skeet Ulrich is just boring.
A lot of the issues with the girls are not really clear: apparently Bonnie just becomes an aggressive narcissist for fun or possibly due to spell. The Bonnie we’ve seen for most of the movie was nothing like this, and she asked for “beauty outside as well as in”, so it’s not as if she was asking for a complete shallow makeover.
Rochelle’s spell against Laura was only going to work if Laura kept being racist … and she was so …
As for Nancy, she asked for power and then suddenly she is still in love with Chris for some reason? It feels like Manon was just picking favorites and he was clearly a fan of Empire Records.
Adding that Sarah is a “natural witch” due to her dead mom, and it just feels like the narrative needed some artificial conflict, and female friendships are toxic anyway la-de-da.
With The Craft: Legacy only a few weeks away, my hope is that the power of friendship will be strong enough to keep the girls together rather than tear them apart because they want (checks notes) to be happy and slightly petty.
(image: Columbia Pictures)
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