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The Craft (1996)

Directed by Andrew Fleming Story by Peter Filardi Screenplay by Andrew Fleming & Peter Filardi

   It seems a bit absurd that someone would demean a movie simply because of the year it was made. Almost completely missing the point of the entire industry in my eyes. The reason for me stating being that I will go ahead and say that I was a big fan of this movie, SPOILER! Typically I do not like to read other reviews on films that I do (at least before) because I would hate for anything to leak through that was seen from another’s perspective. However my eyes were averted to a certain review that seemed to be bashing the film for being “a basic flashback of the 90’s.” The film was made in 1996 however so did he really mean that he hated the 90’s and therefore took it out on the film for simply existing within such a time frame? That’s almost as though you would hate a movie made in black in white because it was so retro. Kind of missing the point there I think.
   The story itself follows Sarah (Robin Tunney) whose father (Cliff De Young) and step-mother have moved to a new city with her attending a private school. (Her mother having died while giving birth) Automatically being set aside at school, a group of three girls take notice after Bonnie (Neve Campbell) witnesses an action in class that takes her breath away. Insisting she’s the fourth they had been looking for. The difference between Sarah and the rest of the girls being that she obtained a natural power whereas the other three practiced the craft with own intentions. Sarah was also meant to represent the element earth; another thing I’m not sure if people had caught while viewing the movie. She was simply intended to be the most naturalistic one of the group. Tunney of which had came from doing Empire Records previously, wearing a wig throughout the film and giving a fantastic lead performance playing the all natural witch whose not typically depicted.
   Bonnie represented wind (not the easiest element to represent) whose back was scarred from an accident in her youth that they never really get into. Receiving painful surgery time and time again it seems as though nothing is helping until she’s able to gain her confidence back with thanks to Sarah. Who was able to help who in a sincere moment between the girls as she pleaded with God to take away her scars. While Campbell’s character was not the main one she stuck close to Rochelle (Rachel True) and took part in whatever miscellaneous intent intended to harm those the rest of the group saw fit. Rochelle representing water; obviously being the swimmer in the group, who deals with the unfortunate race issue singled out by Laura (Christine Taylor). Daily throwing off her concentration while practicing her diving. Rochelle sticking close to Bonnie, having Sarah help cast a spell on Laura of which involved her beautiful locks falling off after making a comment on her “nappy locks.”
   Leaving Nancy (Fairuza Balk) who was clearly not only the fire element but had the worst time letting Sarah enter the group. Not only did she possess a power she truly wanted but couldn’t see that she had endured so much inner turmoil that what ends up happening to her in the end was well deserved. Being the one that held the biggest grudge against society, witchcraft seen as an escape from that of which she was so unable to control, herself. Balk was fantastic in this role, dare I say the role she was born to play. It’s just a shame that it was the only role that seemed fitting to her personality. Being Wiccan in real life she was able to bring a vast array of knowledge in assisting with terms along with the rituals performed throughout the movie and does the role of the villain superbly.
   Besides these bewitching lady’s we have a group of three guys including Chris Hooker (Skeet Ulrich) who was more like the leader of the pack. Besides loving the irony of his last name Chris is the type of guy who takes advantage of whatever he’s able to get his hands on. So when Sarah dismisses him it’s no surprise when he starts to spread word of her being the worst lay he had ever had, being a big deal...I suppose. Acquiring a dish best served cold when Sarah casts a spell in which he becomes love-sicken and driven to the brink of sanity. Paying for his past sins with the ultimate sacrifice of his life. Along for the ride are Mitt (Breckin Meyer) and Trey (Nathaniel Marston) who may only be Chris’s minions but are enjoyable for the playful and humorous antics shared with Ulrich’s character thorough the film.
  Final Thoughts: The Craft was certainly a guilty pleasure of mine growing up as I’m sure it was for a lot of other teenage girls who felt awkward. For not fitting in with the typical “Oh my gawd” people; you know who you are. But for a film made in 1996, it was not bad by any means. It was also right before Campbell became apart of the Scream franchise and the “break” the other three girls earning them more roles because of. At the core of the film it was about 4 strong female characters who were outcast within their school and had an interest in witchcraft and were intrigued by the possibilities within the religion.
  I too, tried the “light as a feather” game and watched this movie entirely too many times because it was rare you found a movie displaying a group of strong female leads. Even more-so that it would be intended for teenage audiences. The sporadic CGI throughout the film may not be impressive to some but then again it wasn’t actually something that was tried as a big spectacle. While the movie does hold an R rating it was not by choice but the fact that it dealt with teenage girls handling witchcraft earned it its R rating regardless. Great cast with a really good script behind it; okay so maybe the majority of guys will find this to be a silly chick flick believing the complete opposite of everything stated. Bottom line being that if able to get past the typical judgments passed onto films it’s an enjoyable watch with plenty of fun moments for the witch or warlock in us all.