The Craft (1996) / Horror-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for violence and language
Running Time: 101 min.
Cast: Robin Tunney Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Breckin Meyer, Christine Taylor, Nathaniel Marston, Cliff De Young, Assumpta Serna, Helen Shaver
Director: Andrew Fleming
Screenplay: Peter Filardi, Andrew Fleming
Review published January 15, 2006
Robin Tunney (End of Days, Supernova) stars as Sarah, a newly relocated Los Angeles high school senior that immediately becomes fast friends with three other similarly spiritual, misfit girls. The new clique is actually a young coven of witches, finding strength in numbers to employ some changes, some minor and some major, in their lives at school and at home. Conflicts soon emerge within the circle, causing shifting loyalties and deadly betrayals.
Although critics at the time of its release tended to compare this teen clique film to Clueless, it is probably more akin to the classic 1989 film, Heathers, with its similar plotline and underlying dark humor. Unfortunately, these comparisons bear out just how derivative the film plays, despite the witchcraft aspect, causing the drama to play out predictably. Even so, this is modestly entertaining for the first half, becoming completely unhinged as it starts to get more horrific, and what looked like it would be a fun little teen horror film ends up falling short of the mark, with little to show for a climax save for a ton of special effects and mild gross-out moments.
Although it is rated R, teens will probably enjoy this film more so than adults, especially if they aren't familiar with the aforementioned movies that writer-director Andrew Fleming (Dick) lifts his ideas from. Unless you find snakes to be frightening, this horror film has very few moments of genuine scares, while the goofy dialogue and soapy moments of teen romance catapult this into the realm of camp comedy at times. If you find the subject matter interesting, The Craft will probably hold your attention for a spell, eventually running out of magic long before its increasingly preposterous final scenes.
©2006 Vince Leo