‘The Craft: Legacy’: Zoe Lister-Jones Adds Her Own Magic to the Original, Just Doesn’t Stick The Landing – Review
Andrew Fleming’s 1996 horror/fantasy The Craft, about a young woman with telekinetic gifts who meets a group of aspiring witches, is hailed as a cult classic. The film inspired a generation to play “light as a feather, stiff as a board” at sleepovers, try their hand at magic and is very much a product of that era (especially the grunge fashion). Now, Blumhouse and director/writer Zoe Lister-Jones introduce a new coven to this generation with The Craft: Legacy. This film honours the original by telling a story in a similar vein, with notable moments and dialogue that call back to the original film, but expands upon the themes.
Lily (Cailee Spaeny) and her mother (Michelle Monaghan) move to a new town to live with her mom’s boyfriend, Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons. Being the new kid can be tough, but she shares a connection with a group of friends Tabby (Lovie Simone), Frankie (Gideon Adlon) and Lourdes (Zoey Luna) almost immediately. This bond is one of the most authentic reflections of teenage friendships I’ve seen in a long time.
Lister-Jones captures what it’s like to be a young woman through the dialogue and motivations of the characters and recognizing they’re multi-faceted, fully realizing each member of the coven. The relationship between these women allows personal growth, discovering more about themselves and the people around them, both good and bad. As they come into their power, they enjoy it the way you’d expect high schoolers to do. With this, they struggle with the balance between using it to help themselves but also be responsible with their newfound power as young women in the 21st century.
Besides the friendship, the other strength of the film is its core themes. Lister-Jones reinvigorates this story by modernizing it and tackling timely issues. Diversifying the cast makes it seem like a group of young women you’d see in real life and adds to the authenticity of this story and allows us to connect with this group. The script tackles sexuality, hyper-masculinity, and feminism in the present age. This film provides insightful commentary on all of these topics that makes it transcend a typical teen adventure and dive deeper. The big bad is a reflection of a larger, real-world problem. Something we’re all familiar with and one that’s very relevant to the world we’re living in, the people in power who are intimidated by progress and change. The young women realize they’re more powerful together and that it’s easier to defeat evil with their strength in unity, a beautiful message to send to the young people today.
The cast and the script are near flawless for the first half of the film; I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved everything about this story. The themes and messages were strong until the end, but the story begins falling apart as the strength of the film. The friendship between the women goes through conflict; and as Lily is discovering more about herself, her power and her surroundings on her own, we’re losing what we were invested in. The third act is not nearly as strong, it flies by and concludes with many major questions. Some plot points and story ideas are left on the cutting room floor when there was a very solid foundation building this story up in the first two-thirds of the film. As I said, those portions were truly incredible and even though the ending is lacklustre in comparison, I still recommend checking this film out if you’re a fan of the original or interested in this new take on the story.
The Craft: Legacy expands upon the ideas of the original cult classic while reinvigorating it for a modern audience. A new generation will fall in love with the introduction to this coven, while fans of the first film will enjoy most of this refreshing take from writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones.