Badass Women’s Week: The Craft

The Craft follows Sarah, a new student at a Catholic school, who falls in with a trio of misfits who happen to practice witchcraft. As they begin to get what they want, they slowly lose control of their lives.

Let’s just get this out of the way, this movie is about as 90s as it gets. It was released in 1996, and it feels like it. Considering Titanic came out the following year, their excuse for special effects is pretty laughable, but it’s still all in good fun and a decidedly low budget. The intro looks like the beginning to a terrible punk band’s homemade music video. Montages! Witchy things! This is going to be one angsty flick. Still, it’s surprisingly not that bad. It is the love child of a supernatural cult film and a campy teen movie, in all the best and worst ways and I don’t really know how to process it.

It’s still a 90s cheesefest with weird dialogue, flat lines, oversized shirts, and pretty stupid effects, but it’s fun. The first half of the film focuses on the girls against their high school peers. They tackle issues of body confidence, racial discrimination, poverty, the male perception of promiscuity, suicide, and spousal abuse. It discusses issues of friendship, acceptance, and group dynamics and jealousy. It’s honestly not that bad for a dated teen witch drama. The costuming is fantastic, as Nancy Downs looks just like that creepy goth kid from every high school that you were always pretty sure could snap at any moment, and the girls transformation into total witches was visible and interesting.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)
The second half is where things get a bit wonky. The effects get doubly bad, even hilariously so, and the plot takes a dark turn. I’m all for dark comedies, but this took a turn for the extremely dark and ended the best part of the movie, the friendship. Sure it is a woman finding strength in herself, and not needing anyone, but at the detriment to her once friends. Nancy’s jealous is understood as the newcomer soon charms the group and Nancy’s love interest immediately. Her over the top torture of Sarah is still an insane reaction, and mad with power she abuses her once friend to incredible extremes. This doesn’t make sense! Her character just became super evil for no reason except to hasten the ending of the film. She was unhinged sure, but this 360 seems too extreme even for her.
(END OF SPOILERS)

Still, this film makes Badass Women Week because literally every person with knowledge or strength in the film is female. Sarah finds strength in her friends, and when they turn on her, she has to find strength within herself. This film is a female dominated movie. There is only three men that even matter to the plot, Sarah’s father, Nancy’s stepfather, and the love interest, Chris. Two out of three of these people generally suck or are actively abusive.

The film (at least the first half) is centered on the girls and issues they have to deal with while trying to find a place they belong in the scheme of high school hierarchy. They are content being the weirdos because they are in their coven and that is unbreakable. Then the second half just steamrolls over that whole nice ordeal and goes in the other direction, but for most of it, it’s a campy weird teen throwback flick. If you want an Oscar-worthy thriller, skip this, but if you want a weird little movie with some legitimately badass witches I’d say give it a watch. But be warned, this thing is not a slumber party laugh, it’s pretty dark and deals with mature themes.

Amy’s Recommendation: 6/10

Where to Watch: Netflix

Best Badass Witch Line:

“The only way you know how to treat women is treating them like whores, when you’re the whore, and that’s gonna stop. Do you understand?”

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