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The Craft was so foundational to me as a person that it is simply stunning I haven’t owned a pet named Fairuza yet. Everything flawed, dated, and broken in that original cult classic could have been easily repaired, modernized, and healed in a thoughtful reboot. Instead, The Craft: Legacy triples down on every possible mistake, barfing out a grotesquely edited monstrosity that should only be remembered for a brief collision between half-assed CGI and David Duchovny’s face.
Underrepresentation in cinema is frustrating, but is it worse than the criminal misuse of a talented, diverse cast to elevate a straight white lead? What a fun debate! Legacy begins with Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Frankie (Gideon Adlon), and Tabby (Lovie Simone) practicing a wee bit of witchery. The prospect of a legit ensemble is tantalizingly dangled then blown immediately away, like a light feather, leaving us stiff and bored. The triad of witches become a full, four-cornered coven with the arrival of Lily (Cailee Spaeny), a supernaturally powerful, seemingly well-adjusted teenager who we are meant to pity because a boy is mean to her.
Mind you, one of her new BFFs is a Trans woman, but poor Lily has three new step-brothers and is new in town. So who really has it harder, you know? Using a single montage, set to a song that sullies the memory of the perfect soundtrack for the original 1996 film, Legacy basically “yada, yada, yadas” over the group becoming friends and witches. You know, the entirety of what defines The Craft.
Like a book about sorcery tossed into a wood chipper, writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones’s film rapidly spews out nonsense that was maybe magical before it got mangled. Out of an abundance of spoiler caution, I won’t get up in the guts of the climax or even the true nature of the villain. I can only tell you that the whole thing feels like it was written by a drunken artificially intelligent bot that was fed a “woke” algorithm and used all the correct parts to build the exact opposite of what was intended.
Legacy’s attempt at being inclusive was undoubtedly a turn off to bigots, who love to call others fragile and then drop a class 5 mega-tantrum when their fiction doesn’t tell them they’re very, very special. Yet botching that inclusion to the point of being a meaningless gesture is sure to vex the hex-enthusiasts who were hoping to finally see themselves added to the proud “weirdos, mister.”
But if we set aside all the concerns that so many folks have told me in all-caps shouldn’t be my focus anyway, Legacy is still also very bad. The pace is a disaster, somehow feeling both incredibly rushed and impenetrably boring. The villain is woefully underdeveloped and unintentionally flat-out hilarious. The tone and atmosphere are scattershot and frequently irritating.
I’m not saying that no one can enjoy The Craft: Legacy. Around 70 million people made a bad choice on Election Day, so it’s easy to do. I’m just saying, as a person who should have loved it but really hated it, the only spelling it interested me in was the letter F.
Grade = F
Other Critical Voices to Consider
Sarah Michelle Fetters at MovieFreak really enjoyed it, saying “There’s magic being performed by this quartet of young witches, and here’s my hope that the target audience is there to bear witness.”
Catalina Combs at BlackGirlNerds says that the film hit the mark for representation and feminism: “Its salute to female empowerment and inclusivity is what we need right now.”
Kristen Yoonsoo Kim at NYT says “this new film also recalls the original in its greatest flaw: by under-writing the characters of color.”