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Cult classics have a unique life in theaters. While they might not be initially successful, these movies ultimately are indoctrinated into the pop culture landscape as years go by. Andrew Fleming’s 1996 classic The Craft is one of those movies, and that iconic project has been turned into a bonafide franchise thanks to Zoe Lister-Jones’ The Craft: Legacy.
Given how the fashion, dialogue, and music from The Craft are all iconic in their own right, the pressure was on for Zoe Lister-Jones and company to deliver for the sequel, and she has succeeded by not trying to recreate that original movie.
The coven’s chemistry is magic in The Craft: Legacy.
The Craft: Legacy doesn’t focus on any of the characters we know and love from the original. Instead we meet a new coven of witches, who each represent an element of nature. The witches are refreshingly diverse young talents, with a cast made up of relative newcomers. And these four women have a palpable chemistry that helps buoy the movie. X-Files legend David Duchovny also has a notable role that should excite science fiction fans, and he gives a solid performance.
The story follows Cailee Spaeny’s Lily, who, like Sarah in the original Craft movie, is starting at a new school. She quickly bonds with a trio of witches (Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna), as she displays a clear gift that helps to amplify their powers. The women uplift each other throughout the 97-minute runtime, and these performances are no doubt aided by very real-life chemistry between the young cast.
Homage to The Craft is paid in exact change.
As previously mentioned, the original Craft movie has become truly iconic over the years, and those fans who are hoping for the nostalgic feels won’t be disappointed by the years-later follow-up. Zoe Lister-Jones expertly includes cinematic parallels and Easter eggs throughout Legacy. We see the girls play light as a feather stiff as a board and form their own circle in a way that will be satisfying for the many fans out there.
But while The Craft: Legacy has its share of homages, Zoe Lister-Jones has plenty of twists up her sleeve. Many of these Raster eggs are quickly turned on their heads to keep even the most hardcore fan on their toes. For instance, when the women finally form a coven, butterflies suddenly appear – just as they did in the 1996 original. But Lister-Jones then has their power stop time, allowing for Legacy to have its own POV and visual language.
The Craft: Legacy is a wholly new story.
Indeed, The Craft: Legacy succeeds because the movie isn’t a remake, but something new altogether. The interpersonal relationships between the witches don’t play out as the first story did, and they all come from various different backgrounds. This helps Legacy feel very current, and show the different struggles that young women are going through when compared to the 90s. Just like the original, The Craft: Legacy tackles real-world social issues and gender politics, in addition to the magic, friendship, and occasional scare. Zoe Lister-Jones told a number of LGBT stories with this entry into the franchise, tackling trans issues and biphobia. Add in the racial diversity among the cast, Legacy truly feels like it reflects what the real world truly looks like.
The Craft: Legacy definitely has its own style, and the coven’s costuming by Avery Plewes is full of loud colors and patterns, a bold departure from the black gothic aesthetic of its predecessor. The music is also filled with bops that help to make Legacy feel very now. The film is sure to get its share of naysayers, given what the original movie means to so many of us. In some ways it lacks the same grungy edge, but style has also changed in the decades since its release. But the movie’s differences are its strength, so those able to embrace that and go for the ride are in for a bewitching experience.