If you haven’t yet seen the 1996 film The Craft (now streaming on Hulu) you’ve certainly got an exciting addition to your Halloween watchlist on your hands. If you have seen it, then you already know it’s a must-watch flick.
The Craft, available now on Hulu, is a cult classic and one of the best witch movies of all time.
The movie stars Robin Tunney (The Mentalist), Fairuza Balk (The Waterboy), Neve Campbell (Scream), and Rachel True (Half Baked). The Craft was directed by Andrew Fleming, and the screenplay was “crafted” by Fleming and Peter Filardi.
When the movie was first released in theaters in the 90s by Columbia Pictures, it was much more of a hit than was initially anticipated. The film brought in more than $55 million worldwide and was made for around $15 million.
Though it received mixed reviews at its first release, The Craft has since drawn a cult following and even had a remake/sequel filmed in its honor. It was praised for its strong feminist messages, excellent acting performances by the leading ladies, and its monetarily beneficial production.
In the decades since it hit the big screen, The Craft has been nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, and Fairuza Balk and Robin Tunney won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (an encounter in the movie you certainly don’t want to miss).
The film follows the story of four high school girls who form their own small coven of witches and take their powers to new heights together. Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) is a troubled young lady who has some unusual abilities and has just moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles with her dad and stepmom.
The Craft was a hit in the theaters, earning $55 million, but it’s since become a timeless cult classic.
At her new school, Sarah gains new friendships with a trio of girls who are outcasts in the school and are rumored to be witches. Nancy (Fairuza Balk) lives in a trashy trailer park with her mom and an abusive stepfather. Bonnie (Neve Campbell) has some pretty terrible scars from a car accident, and Rochelle is an African-American student who deals with daily racism and bullying from another clique of white girls.
Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle practice their own breed of The Craft, worshiping a powerful earth deity who goes by the name of Manon. The trio has been searching for a fourth to join their coven, and Sarah quickly shows that she fits the bill.
Adding Sarah to the coven completes the girl’s air-water-earth-fire circle, giving them some new and more powerful abilities. The completion of their connection causes some strange things to begin happening around the group of girls.
After a vagrant with a snake reemerges in Sarah’s path (she previously encountered him in her new home), bothering her, he is quickly struck by a car. The teenage girls believe that their thoughts alone caused this to happen, and their bond begins growing stronger.
Later in The Craft, Sarah goes on a date with a popular jock named Chris (Skeet Ulrich), after which Chris starts spreading rumors that Sarah is terrible in bed. He is also very rude to her in front of his friends, and Sarah decides to cast a love spell on him.
When the spell works, the other girls begin casting spells of their own. Rochelle casts a spell to exact her revenge on her racist bully, Laura (Christine Taylor). Bonnie casts a spell to boost her physical appearance, and Nancy casts a spell to boost her powers.
Suddenly, Bonnie is free from her burn scars, Rochelle’s bully begins losing her hair, and Nancy’s powers lead to the death of her stepfather. The death of Nancy’s stepfather grants her and her mother an influx of life insurance money, and they are able to move into a fancy, high-rise apartment.
The Craft shows Nancy’s powers growing ever stronger, and the manifestations of her strength become even more sinister along the way. The girls’ spells begin to backfire when Bonnie becomes overwhelmingly narcissistic, Rochelle’s bully is traumatized, and Chris tries to rape Sarah after she rejects him.
From there, the girls must do what it takes to unravel the mess their magic has created and stop Nancy from going completely off the rails in her power-hungry rampage. With four excellent leads and an even more excellent soundtrack, The Craft claimed its stake in movie history.
The Craft: Legacy
In 2020, The Craft: Legacy was released as a follow-up to the movie. To the dismay of fans of the original movie, Legacy was not quite as entertaining as its predecessor. The Craft: Legacy centered around the same preface as the first movie but didn’t quite hit a home run with the playout of the plot.
The acting in the film was subpar when compared to The Craft, and the storyline was flat. There was no intense excitement or anticipation as to what might happen next, and the movie was extremely predictable.
The magic performed in the movie was also a notable difference. In The Craft, there was detailed research done on every spell cast, and the actors were well informed on various methods/materials needed for each magic scene. The cast even had a practicing witch on set to help add legitimacy to their scenes.
In Legacy, the magic performed was much more mainstream and froufrou. It wasn’t as legitimate as the original, for sure, and the lingo used by the cast was straight out of today’s pop culture. You could live the rest of your life not watching the film and be just fine.
However, you don’t want to miss out on the original. You can find The Craft (1996) streaming on Hulu with a subscription. The movie comes with an “R” rating and a runtime of nearly two hours, so get cozy and enjoy the ride.