Many Horror films have dealt with the theme of Witchcraft, one great in particular is ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ In 1996 though, the Witchcraft/horror genre went teenage angst, with the release of the popular teen movie ‘The Craft,’ starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True.
‘The Craft’ is a movie about three High School girls, who want more than anything to be witches. It seems their dreams come true when Sarah (Robin Tunney) arrives at their school, and seems to be the fourth element they need to start their coven, which hasn’t been going very far. After a while, the girls become ‘friends’ and the magic starts. What seems like genuine fun at the beginning becomes increasingly frightening after the girls take revenge on the peers that have mistreated them.
The problems really start though, when Nancy (Fairuza Balk), gets far too power hungry and starts to go ‘a little crazy.’ Then what transpires is a battle between ‘the good witch’ – Sarah, and ‘the bad witch’ – Nancy.
I’m a big fan of the film and enjoy the teen angst mixed with horror and the supernatural. The problem with the movie is it doesn’t quite know where it’s going or what it wants to be; perhaps like the characters in the film.
The movie starts off well, but then seems to fade out, right at the climactic ending, where Nancy and Sarah face off. The entire ending, after a huge build up, just doesn’t deliver the goods; which is a real shame, because the film has so much potential. The characters are well written, the special effects great, and the writer has the girl teen angst thing down.
Fairuza Balk puts in a great performance as the gothic and troubled Nancy, who wants to get away from her ‘white trash’ image. In my opinion, this is Balks finest performance. (she’s also great in ‘Return to Oz’ – Yep, she is the little girl playing Dorothy.)
The other actresses play their parts well, especially a stand out performance from Neve Campbell who was obviously noticed, and went on to star in the ‘Scream’ trilogy. In fact, the weakest actress is Robin Tunney, in the lead role of Sarah Bailey, who never really gets to shine. As I said, even in the finale, her character never really comes across as ‘real’; and when watching the film, it’s quite difficult to empathise with her as she does appear as Nancy says 'weak'. Rachel Trues character is well thought out, as is all of them, but again, she doesn’t seem to shine, and gets forgotten in the midst of the three other girls performances.
So what about the Witchcraft? Well, the writer decided to use a fictional ‘God’ for the girls to worship, named ‘Manon,’ which sounds very similar to one of the Wicca Gods of the Sea. The special effects are fun, and the film is great to watch with friends.
The DVD has some great extras on it, and I would recommend watching it if just for the deleted scenes. Some of which are very strong and should have been left in the movie, it might have explained the characters more.
All in all, a fun film which you can watch over and over. It doesn’t fit into any specific category though. It has pinches of lots of genres – teenage, horror, supernatural and even some great comedy lines. Plus, the soundtrack is awesome, with songs from 'Letters to Cleo' and 'Jewel' mixed with great rock.
No matter what the films faults, it delivers because it’s so unlike anything else out there. ‘The Lost Boys’ for girl’s maybe. Definite recommendation for the whole family, but don’t expect a really scary horror