The Craft: Legacy
by Hope Madden
Does The Craft: Legacy miss the Goth Goddess vibe that only Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk) can bring to a teen horror about high school witchcraft?
Of course it does. All movies do. I can name very few films that would not benefit from at least a touch of Nancy Downs’s magic, although this one does seem to ache for it. Still, writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones does an admirable job of updating the angst, limiting the cattiness, and creating a coven worthy of the best weirdos.
The sequel of the 1996 cult classic drops into modern day suburbia with adorable little outcast Lily (Cailee Spaeny) and her mom (Michelle Monaghan). Mom is moving in with beau Adam (David Duchovny) and his three teenage sons, so Lily is trying to be supportive.
And then, it’s the first day of high school in a brand new school, which is, itself, the worst day of anyone’s life, right? No. This really becomes the worst day—THE WORST—until Lily is rescued by three new friends.
They like her even before they realize that she’s the witch they’ve been waiting for to fill out their coven. Yay!
Lister-Jones creates an atmosphere far more fun and accepting than the one you’ll find in the ’96 original. Written and directed by men (Peter Filardi and Andrew Fleming), The Craft created a sisterhood only to have it destroy itself from within.
In the sequel, girls are told that their difference makes them powerful and only villains seek to control a girl’s power for her.
The result is a lot of fun, although it’s also a film that loses track of its purpose pretty quickly. The stakes never feel especially high, and most of the real drama and peril aren’t introduced until halfway through the film, giving them a tacked on quality. It’s as if Lister-Jones really loved hanging out with these kids and then realized at the last minute she was going to have to give them something to do.
So it’s uneven. Characters are fun and performances are strong. Nicholas Galitzine is especially delightful in what amounts to a dual role. He’s equally convincing in each. Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna and Gideon Adlon round out the coven, and they are as adorable as Lily.
They just really need more to do.