There are few teen films from the ‘90s that I love more than The Craft. It was a movie that offered outsiders a sense of belonging. While the 2020 sequel, The Craft: Legacy is somewhat of a departure from the tone and storyline of its predecessor, it still feels very much like a Craft film. The underlying message of female empowerment is still there. And it’s even more prevalent than in the original. This is a Craft film for a new generation of angsty teens.
This is not The Craft that that you grew up with. But this impressive follow up from writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones isn’t exclusively targeted at fans of the first. It was made with us in mind but also with the idea of being a defining film for a new generation of young people. Instead of telling the story of a group of teen witches discovering their power and ultimately letting it consume them, we have the story of a group of teen witches coming together and using teamwork to fight back against the patriarchy. Each of the four young actresses brings something special to the table and I sincerely hope that Legacy will some day be looked upon with the kind of fondness that many of us hold for the original.
Wether Legacy has the same staying power as the first film will remain to be seen. But what I can say at this point is that The Craft: Legacy deserves credit for daring to be different and for sending a message of female empowerment at a time where it couldn’t be more needed.
The Craft: Legacy delivers a powerful message about elevating women in all forms and the power of sisterhood. And the film doesn’t limit the bonds of sisterhood to those assigned female at birth. One of the core cast members is a trans woman and she is played by a trans woman. This is a win for representation and a huge step in terms of seeking out lgbtq+ actors to play lgbtq+ roles. What further impressed me is that Lourdes (who is played by Zoey Luna) doesn’t live and die by her gender identity. She is a character that happens to be trans. She and her sister witches Lily, Frankie, and Tabby (brilliantly played by Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, and Lovie Simone) are a great snapshot of counterculture in 2020 but they are also well-developed and relatable characters that will hopefully resonate with audiences for years to come.
In addition to featuring a more diverse cast, the film also strikes the perfect balance between being a sequel to an existing property and doing its own thing. There are thematic elements and ideas from the first flick that appear in The Craft: Legacy but this follow up effort incorporates them in such a way that Legacy feels like its own entity while still being a part of the bigger Craft universe.
Writer/ director Zoe Lister-Jones goes to some unexpected places with her screenplay and she takes some risks by daring to be different but that paid off in spades for me. I really respect that she didn’t use the original script as a template and throw in a couple of updates and call it good. Sequels that do that are sometimes successful because fans think they want more of the same. But I find that approach (more often than not) to be boring and repetitive.
In addition to being a smartly written and fiercely feminist film, the flick also makes a point to call out and take on toxic masculinity. It delves into why unprocessed trauma coupled with the expectation that men can’t be seen as weak is so dangerous. David Duchovny really shines in a somewhat unexpected performance as new witch in town Lily’s soon-to-be stepfather. I don’t want to give anything away but watching his character arc was fascinating, to say the least.
Although I have mostly positive things to say about The Craft: Legacy, it isn’t a perfect sequel. Some of the dialogue is a little clunky and the utter terror that the original inspired is in shorter supply here. But I’d rather not dwell on the flick’s shortcomings, as it t gets a lot more right than it gets wrong.
As for the film’s home video release, I found the Blu-ray special features to be something of a missed opportunity. There are two mini docs, neither of which is more than five-minutes long. And while it was great to hear a little about the legacy of the original film and how that served as inspiration for the sequel, we don’t get any input from anyone involved with the first film.
On the upside, we get a good deal of deleted scenes with some insight from writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones. She is a powerful voice and I sincerely cannot wait to see what she does next.
All things considered, The Craft: Legacy is a very solid sequel that is well worth seeking out. You can check the film out on Blu-ray and DVD now!
Wicked Rating: 7.5/10