The Craft: Legacy movie review (2020)


One of the main problems is that, excluding Lily, the girls are not clearly delineated as characters. You have no clue where these girls live, who their parents are, their histories, backstories, even their likes or dislikes. The only time we get a glimpse is during a brief scene where they play a truth-telling game. “I wish I had more black friends,” says Tabby, an intriguing comment, but just … left there, unexplored. Lourdes is trans, but other than that, we don’t know anything about her. Home life? Struggles? In the 1996 film, each girl was three-dimensional, with flaws and wants and desires, each of which drew her inexorably into the supernatural. The actors here are all charming and funny, but they don’t land as distinct individuals. What are they looking for when they cast spells? What is lacking in their lives? Are they running from something? Trying to fill a hole? Or is it just schoolgirl shenanigans? It’s hard to tell. Except for one conversation about “using their power responsibly,” there’s no real grappling with what power means, how power corrupts all of us. Consider how Neve Campbell’s bullied character in the original turns into a mean-girl bully herself once she gets power into her hands. “The Craft: Legacy” is uninterested in that kind of complex examination.

The original film ended on a very disturbing note: an overhead shot of Fairuza Balk’s Nancy, strapped to a bed in a mental institution, writhing around in anguish at what she had unleashed. Her walk on the dark side was too dark; she couldn’t find her way back. This sense of danger—emotional, physical, spiritual—is missing in “Legacy,” as is a sense of what’s at stake.

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