As I sit here, attempting to conjure the words to write this movie review, I’m also conjuring my past and what it felt like to be a kid in the 1990s, when the OG “The Craft” was very much alive…
I have “Give It” on repeat, by Betta Lemme, and I’m looking for answers on a proverbial Ouija Board, allowing my soul to experience all the feels a closeted kid may have once felt not so long ago. Yes, I was relatively straight edge, pretty tight-lipped and followed all the rules. My parents assured my fate was sealed when we moved from Ridgefield Park to Ridgewood, New Jersey in the late-80s. I was classically trained in music and most of my friends were white. And one thing’s for sure, that back then, the freedom to “be you” in the ‘burbs wasn’t even on the menu.
My, how many things have changed over the years.
Let’s go back to 13-year-old me, shall we? There I was, “partying” with my then-“girlfriend” and a group of out-of-towners. I really only recall spending time with Christie (girlfriend), a “renowned” witch named Britney (total “Craft” knockoff…hey, it was the ’90s) and a charmingly handsome boy named Ron.
Britney claimed she could speak with the Devil and that she practiced dark arts. In reality, she most likely had parents that were overworked and quite frankly, didn’t really give a shit what she did, as long as she was out of their hair. Poor kid…but her makeup was spot on and those Victorian-inspired dresses made me oh-so-jealous.
At that “rager” one Saturday afternoon, Britney forcibly rounded all of us normal kids into a circle and asked us to chant. Okay, fair enough…I was a young horror fan. And chant we did.
She stood up after a few minutes, held one hand in the air, howled like a banshee, then pointed at Ron. He howled in response, then broke the sacred circle, took his shoes off and sat in the middle of the street. Honestly, I really don’t know what the hell I witnessed, but a spell was put on me…by Ron…as my pants tightened, and I wasn’t sure how to handle the “situation.” I’m pretty sure I freaked out and called my parents to pick me up and take me home. *Shrug*
Skip to 17-year-old me… After any band competition, our tradition — us boys, Scott, Gary, Brian and me — was to head over to Gary’s house, eat Gummy Bears candies until we got sick, watch outdated horror movies and drop until the next afternoon.
One night, our new friend Jai joined the merry band of teenage assholes, and brought his Ouija Board with him to Gary’s. Being teenage boys, we couldn’t stop laughing and joking around, passing gas every chance we got and stuffing our faces with junk food. When the board came out, however, shit got real. In reality, we must have only screwed around for 20 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime…most likely due to our deep dehydration from the day and alarming rates of sugar racing through our bodies.
One of us spewed off some lines a la Boris Karloff as Jai asked the board an ominous question. The amount of profanities that thing came back with and obscene gestures was, well, expected. We laughed it off and gorged ourselves in more sugarcoated confections.
So, what’s my point and how does it relate to the movie I just watched? Well, for starters, the new cast and crew magically allowed all of those suppressed memories to come flooding back within minutes of the opening scene being presented to the audience.
Nostalgia was the name of the game in “The Craft: Legacy” and my boyfriend and I lapped it up like starved dogs. Sure, the cast looked a little different and the message was more focused on delivering to a post-“Me Too” audience, but it surely got the job done.
The film had its slow moments, but what flick doesn’t these days? And I’m not sure I would have cast David Duchovny as the evil warlock — although I completely understand why…placing a relatively unsuspecting and recognizable “good guy” in an opposite role — but the story unfolded organically overall.
Now let’s briefly discuss some major wins that this updated version had, that the OG “The Craft” fell short on back in the day:
- Consent — Guys in this film did NOT get away with any form of bullshit relating to rape culture whatsoever. In fact, one scene — where the witches’ spell rapidly fell over Timmy — made it a point to spotlight a health class video on the ins and outs of sexual consent and why it’s so important.
- LGBT Issues — Even though a main character was bewitched to come face-to-face with his higher self, homosexuality and bisexuality were brought to the forefront, allowing said character to heal from past trauma. And guess what? His newfound friends didn’t give a shit! What a concept, huh? Gives me some hope for future generations…
- Toxic Masculinity — There’s really no room for it in this film, and even David Duchovny’s character makes a career out of trying to fight it, from the streets all the way to his humble abode, meeting his son’s needs head on…sort of… However, though, men are put in their place in “The Craft: Legacy” and it’s a beautiful sight.
Aaand I’m going to stop there, because I hate spoilers, first of all, and I want to give you the opportunity to spend $19.99 of your hard-earned money to experience this witch hunt all on your own. It’s worth it. If for nothing else, it’s a nice distraction from the horrors that are actually unfolding all around us.