The Craft: Legacy

Pointless remake or fresh take?

Note:  There are spoilers for this film and The Craft.

The Craft: Legacy represents everything wrong with the film industry these days.  To be honest and fair, I am a huge fan of The Craft.  I first saw it in the theaters when it was released.  I have it on DVD and if it's on blu-ray, I'd love it on that format as well.  Just checked Amazon and there's a spiffy Collector's Edition on blu-ray...I seriously want it.  Anyway...I'm a big fan of the original film, and I did groan when I heard about what was originally going to be a remake.

So, this film is a reboot/remake/sequel.  It's a film that is barely connected to the original that is designed to turn it into a franchise, so this is obviously set up for a sequel.  It is a remake in that it shares its basic premise with the original film - new girl has mysterious abilities, meets up with her school's female rejects who have a fledgling coven and need a "fourth" to complete their circle and gain even more powers.

However, everything that made the original compelling, thought-provoking and entertaining is just gone from this film.  The lessons of the original film are removed and swapped for some bullshit "men are evil" angle.

Anyway, Lily (full name "Lilith" - because of course) and her mother move in to her mother's new husband's house.  Adam, Lily's new stepfather, has three sons.  Strange things happen as soon as Lily gets to her new home, which is obvious foreshadowing.  She attends the same school as her stepbrothers, and ends up having a very heavy period in one of her classes, on her first day, and is mocked by some guy named Timmy.  She flees to the bathroom to clean herself up, and that's when the fledgling coven, made up of Lourdes, Frankie and Tabby, offer her a clean pair of shorts.  They all quickly become friends, especially when the three attempt to telepathically communicate with Lily, which succeeds, and their coven is born.

Now, in the first few scenes between Lily and the others, Lourdes repeatedly informs them that she's transgender.  Lourdes cannot totally relate to Lily's unfortunate period mishap because Lourdes was born male, and can't have periods.  I would have rolled my eyes super hard if I had been alone, but I was watching it with my sister.  Anyway, the actor that plays Lourdes is also trans.

Not off to a good start.  I am sick to death of transgender everything and I go out of my way to avoid books and movies starring tranny characters.  Call me whatever you want, I don't care.  I can handle homosexuals, but this trans shit pisses me off, mainly because of how militant trannies and their allies are.  I have to admit, the actor looks pretty good as a female.

So anyway, Lily is upset that Timmy continues to mock her and be a Mean Boy in general, so she decides to cast a spell on him, much like Sarah does to Chris in the original film.  However, this does not backfire on her, the way Sarah's spell does.  Timmy becomes a good little leftist, a "woke" avatar that says all the things our fearless grrrrrl powa coven wants to hear.

Meanwhile, they're actually able to cast real spells and such now that Lily has joined the coven, but the spells are dopey as fuck and come across as parlor tricks and superhero posturing.  Except for the very first time they "meditate" or perform a spell as a coven - they manage to stop time.  They will utilize this again in the future.

Also, for some odd reason Lily is telekinetic - if someone upsets her, they suddenly go flying across the room.  I was like, what?  Is she Carrie White all of a sudden?  She's the only one of the coven that exhibits this ability.

So we get two montages of the girls performing their girl power parlor tricks - including the "light as a feather, stiff as a board" levitation, stopping time in the school cafeteria (pulling pranks and taking selfies too), giving Lily a sparkly purple bath, Tabby lighting her finger on fire and Lily giving herself some extra sparkly eye makeup.

Meanwhile, Timmy becomes more and more "woke" by the hour, which results in him deciding to hang out with the girls rather than study with his original friends.  They end up playing "two truths and a lie" in which Timmy confesses that he hooked up with a guy and that he thinks he's bisexual.

A few scenes later, their teacher announces that Timmy has committed suicide.  The only decent scene comes right after this, where the original three decide they have to stop messing around with their magic, because their irresponsible use has led to someone losing their life.  It seems that the original three already know that power comes with responsibility, and that there are consequences to everything you do.  Then Lily confesses that she put another spell on Timmy (via masturbating with his sweatshirt), and that they made out.  The others are understandably upset at this, because Lily performed this spell without telling them or including them, and now it's gotten someone killed (or so they thought).  They then decide to distance themselves from Lily, and bind their own powers.  I have to admit, I respected them for doing that.  Still, we don't know how they realized that yes, magic has consequences, and that's because the three girls are not fully fleshed characters.  We don't really get to know them at all, except through their interactions with Lily.  The black girl, Tabby, is a grotesque stereotype of what white people think black girls are like these days, Frankie is...I dunno, kind of outgoing and is the de-facto leader, and Lourdes is trans.  We don't know why they are drawn to witchcraft.  We don't know how long they've been practicing it.  We don't know where they learned it from, or who they learned it from.  We just know that they want their spells to work and that they need a "fourth" member (one that corresponds to the elements and the four cardinal directions) in order for their spells to work.  

In the original film, each member of the coven has her reasons for practicing witchcraft - all of them are, in their own ways, rejects at school.  Nancy is the "poor white trash" with a reputation for being a slut (and has a rotten home life), Rochelle is the token black kid that is not accepted by anyone else (and is literally the only black student at her school), Bonnie is extremely introverted due to trauma and some severe burn scars on her body, and Sarah is the new girl who has already been slandered by hot guy Chris (and she also seems to be suffering from depression).  They really screwed up with Rochelle's character, reducing her to the victim of racism and to be honest, that was dated even back in 1996.  It's the only criticism I have of the original film. That being said, Rochelle isn't a walking stereotype who speaks in ebonics and listens to nothing but rap or whatever.

Even Lily herself isn't fully fleshed out as a character.  We know nothing about her life before moving in with her stepfather.  She latches on to the three girls rather quickly, but you don't know why she wants to pursue witchcraft other than wanting friends (she didn't have friends at her old home, and that's all we really know about her, besides not knowing who her father is) and wanting to know why weird things happen, like the weak-ass telekinetic shit.

So anyway, Lily happens to spy her stepfather Adam leading some sort of support group with a bunch of guys from her school, including her stepbrothers.  This happens right after Timmy's suicide, and of course, Adam claims that Timmy was weak, and that he was a failure, blah blah blah.  It's so blatantly obvious that Adam is a villain.

The original didn't really have a villain, other than the popular kids at school.  The girls all became their own villains, and each other's villains, once they started abusing their powers.

To hurry up with summarizing the story, it turns out that Adam had killed Timmy because he's a warlock, and he sensed that someone had changed Timmy via magic.  Some people think that Adam killed Timmy because Timmy was bisexual, but pay attention to what Adam actually says - he points out to Lily that he knew she had cast spells on Timmy, and he didn't like what Timmy had become, so he killed him.

As I said, this film is rotten to the core.  So the one teachable moment in this film - everything you do has consequences - is basically ruined in favor of a "men are all evil" narrative.  The girls' spells are literally harmless.  They never really feel the consequences of what they do, and in fact, there aren't any consequences.  Adam exists to be something they can fight and triumph over, which they do, in a rather anti-climactic fashion with the worst background music ever.  You thought those "Here I Am" spots for the CW's Batwoman were cringe?  Oh no, this is about a billion times cringier.

The girls gather around evil Adam and attempt to put a spell on him, but he swats them away, babbles some more about his evil plans, and then the girls surround him again and burn him alive.

Then comes the final insult.  At some point in the film, Lily discovers that she's adopted.  She is briefly angry at her mother for this, and it's bad enough for her mother to decide to leave Adam and take Lily with her, only it turns out that it's just Adam shape-shifting into Lily's mom.  It is here that he attempts to get Lily to give up her powers.

So anyway, after Adam is dealt with (no word on what happens to his three sons, given that their likely orphaned - but they're male, so who cares, amirite?), Lily goes to meet her birth mother who happens to be....drumroll please....Nancy Downs!

I call this an insult because Fairuza Balk's role as Nancy is reduced to a wordless and incredibly depressing cameo, one that sets us up for a sequel.  And even though Sarah was the "natural witch", not Nancy, somehow Nancy's daughter is so powerful that she can do things even Nancy herself could not do at the height of her power (the telekinetic shit).

It bummed me out majorly because they really could have done something special with this.  Nancy didn't have to be permanently insane.  She could have recovered, left the mental hospital and maybe opened her own occult shop in town and serve as a mentor to younger witches, including the ones in this movie.  Instead, she's been institutionalized for over twenty years.

As for Nancy having kids while locked up, it's not unheard of.  It's possible that she could have had a relationship with another patient, or she could have been raped by a staff member (knowing Hollywood, it'll be the latter).  Both do happen, you know.  It's also possible that she could have gotten pregnant by Chris, who she later killed through one incident of telekinesis (blowing him out of a window after revealing that she had glamoured herself into Sarah before hooking up with him).

One of the most important lessons from the original film is that power corrupts.  All four girls had noble and totally understandable intentions - Sarah just wanted to be loved, Rochelle didn't want to deal with racist bitches, Nancy wanted a stable home life and at least enough money to live on, and Bonnie wanted to be rid of her brutal scars.  But once they got those things, they didn't stop.  Laura Lizzie, the racist girl that had tormented Rochelle, ended up going completely bald.  Nothing really bad happened to Bonnie, other than her becoming extremely extroverted to the point she was catcalling random men.  Nancy ended up giving her stepfather a heart attack, and she and her mother got a hefty insurance settlement, but then the power corrupted her, especially when she realized that even though she was favored by Manon, the deity that gave them their powers, Sarah was still more powerful.  The original film's climax is a showdown between Sarah and Nancy, and it's pretty cool.  Oh, and I can't forget that midway through the movie, Sarah's love spell on Chris goes bad, when he attempts to rape her.

Yep, the original was so much better in every way, and was still widely considered a feminist film.

This is why modern "woke" movies get it so wrong.  Strong female characters have no depth...they have no flaws, no real challenges to overcome.  Everything just "happens" to them, and it's usually at the hands of some cartoonishly evil man.  A great deal of these "strong female" characters don't even have much of a personality, and if they do, they usually come across as silly stereotypes (poor Tabby), all in service of making sure the film is sufficiently diverse enough.

People these days are far more concerned about ticking all the diversity boxes and making sure that the right diverse characters are portrayed appropriately, than they are in giving is rich, compelling, dynamic and interesting characters.

I also can't get over how stupid all the magic practices are in this film.  The magic spells and such as seen in the original were based on real Wiccan practices.  Fairuza Balk herself is Wiccan, and even had her own occult shop for a while.  The spells here are just silly fairytale shit with no basis in reality, and the ones that are were just cribbed from the original.  Furthermore, the spells in this film are not even believable, like the stopping of time and Lily's Carrie-esque telekinesis.  The girls are super powerful from the get-go, while the coven from the original had to work their way up to levitating in Sarah's living room.

Anyway, this film is just another god-awful "woke" butchering of a film that was already progressive to begin with.  Nothing is ever enough for these people.  This film was awful, end of story.

Originally published at Minds.