Thoughts on “The Craft”

I actually ended up buying this one twice:  first on its own for an inexpensive price and then in a two-pack with Blumhouse’s continuation.  I have deliberately chosen to not watch the continuation until after I write this discussion of the movie, so as not to be influenced by it (full disclosure:  I’m not expecting much out of it in line with the remakes of “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th”).  So let’s talk about this movie.

The most interesting thing about this movie is this:  I could nitpick it to death.  The plot and characterizations are a bit inconsistent.  Robin Tunney’s voice keeps slipping into a mumbly kind of accent that’s distracting.  And a number of other things.  And yet, I wasn’t bothered by any of that for some reason.  The movie is entertaining and fun to watch for all of its flaws.  I think that’s because it for the most part knows what sort of story it wants to tell and moves things along in that vein.  It doesn’t stop to get all artistic or dramatic or make some kind of huge point, but instead simply moves from scene to scene in a way that generally works.

The basic plot is that a new girl who seems to have some magical powers moves into town, and eventually ends up joining with a group of other girls who are into Wicca, forming a group of four (which the one who actually knows and cares about this stuff says they need).  As it turns out, all of them have issues in their life that they want to deal with.  The black girl is facing racist abuse from a popular girl in the school.  One, played by Neve Campbell — who I think gives the best performance — has suffered horrible burns that she wants to get rid off.  And the at least former leader of the group has a terrible home life in a trailer park with a lecherous stepfather and a mother who doesn’t seem to be able to get ahead at all (and is likely an alcoholic).  And the new girl ends up going on a date with someone who then says he slept with her when he didn’t — giving her the dreaded “slut” reputation — and then dumps her.  With the four of them together, they all gain powers and all use them to make things better, but for at least the other three it changes their personalities.  Ultimately, they all turn against the new girl, forcing her to try to defeat them with magical powers just to survive.

While I don’t want to nitpick things, there is one thing that was noticeable and really annoying, which is that they introduce the trappings of Wicca but don’t actually use them in any way, so they’re just window dressing.  They make a big deal out of the “Whatever you do will return to you threefold” idea, but it never actually happens.  The new girl uses an illusion to make two of them think that’s what’s happening, but it never does, and all that happens to any of them is that they end up powerless (and the former leader ends up insane because of that).  I’ve read around that there are some theories that explain that they really did end up getting repaid threefold, but none of that is apparent in the movie.  But even worse is that the lady at the magic shop explains to the new girl that the reason the former leader turned evil is because that was inside of her, but that the new girl has a light inside of her — partly received from her mother, perhaps — that would protect her from that.  But when she makes the same deal, her personality seems to end up being a lot like the other girls’, as in the fight with the former leader she uses the same tricks with the same expression and inflection that the former leader — supposedly an evil girl — used.  And at the end when the other two girls ask her if she has any powers left and when she rejects them snark that she doesn’t have any she summons lightning to drop a very large tree branch on them.  Yes, she probably knew that they would be able to dodge it, but that’s pretty aggressive for someone who isn’t evil.  If they wanted to make a point about power always corrupting that would have worked, but they would have needed to have someone — the lady at the magic shop perhaps — note that perhaps that light inside her wasn’t really there or wasn’t really working, or at least show concern about it.  What they ultimately do is have her act perhaps slightly better than them but still in a malicious way.  That really struck me as I watched the ending, which left me quite puzzled.

Still, as noted above it’s an entertaining movie, despite its flaws.  I will likely watch it again at some point.

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One Response to “Thoughts on “The Craft””

  1. Thoughts on “The Craft: Legacy” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] as I noted last week, I watched “The Craft” and actually enjoyed it, which is a rarity for me when it comes to these horror movies.  While […]

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