‘The Craft’ (1996): Still Casting Its Spell 25 Years Later – Retro Review

The Craft may not be what one envisions when we hear the words “classic film,” but in my heart and in many others, this movie is definitely deserving of the title. I remember watching it in the theatre when it released on May 3, 1996, and in fact, I saw it on my first date ever!

For those of us that have a penchant for gothic angry girls seeking revenge on some of the worst types of people that high school has to offer, we instantly fell in love with The Craft. The film follows four teenage outcasts who delve into witchcraft mainly as a way to gain revenge against those that have wronged them. Things begin as fun and games and quickly escalate to dangerous territory. Natural witch Sarah is not happy with the misuse of the coven’s newfound power and considers leaving, which she quickly learns will not be so easy. Watch the official trailer to The Craft below.

The Craft stars Fairuza Balk (American History X 1998) as head bad girl Nancy, Neve Cambell  (Scream 1996) as the self-conscious turned outrageous Bonnie, Robin Tunney (Empire Records 1995) as good girl Sarah with all the natural powers, and Rachel True (Embrace of the Vampire 1995) as Rochelle, who seeks revenge against a racist bully. We can also spot eye candy Skeet Ulrich (Scream 1996) as the target of one of the coven’s biggest spells. The Craft was directed by Andrew Fleming, currently known for directing episodes of Netflix’s Emily in Paris (2020) and Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings (2021).

Nancy (Fairuza Balk) has become an iconic horror and gothic character

The Craft was released by Columbia and after being filmed with a budget of $15,000,000, earned $55,600,000 worldwide its opening weekend. We consider that a hit! Having gained a huge cult following since, initial numbers rarely matter to us anyhow, and it’s the substance that is the key.

Casting 4 female leads was a genius move in my opinion and makes the film relatable to many young women out there for various reasons, including romantic relationships gone wrong, bullying from the school popular girl, or feeling self-conscious about our bodies. I’m not saying men don’t experience these things, but The Craft is the first movie I remember seeing about rebellious, powerful women that were around my age at that time, and it just made me feel really cool to be unique. At the end of the day, as crazy as she became, we all wanted to be Nancy. I’ve never considered the movie to be necessarily well-acted, but there is still something so fun about watching it. A special viewing of the film occurred on Halloween in 2013 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and three of the four main actors attended. What a special night that must have been!

Hail to the guardians! The coven conjures up some magic

The Craft also boasts an amazing soundtrack with songs from Love Spit Love, Letters to Cleo, and Juliana Hatfield. Canadian alt-rock band Our Lady Peace perform a pretty amazing cover of The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” for the opening credits. The music was chosen quite well and is placed at keys moments throughout the movie to add emotion and depth to some of the more provocative and powerful scenes. For example, “Dark Secret” by Mathew Sweet plays while the four girls gather oceanside to perform a dark, life changing ritual.

Speaking of dark secrets, you can catch a 2020 sequel to the film titled The Craft: Legacy, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Over the years, The Craft has been praised by media outlets and fans alike for its edgy, coming-of-age darkness. It is certainly our pleasure to pay tribute to the cult classic on this its 25th birthday. The Craft may not be the spookiest, best-written film, but it certainly resides in a dark crevice of our heart due to one simple fact—”We are the weirdos, mister”—and don’t you forget it, or we just might put a spell on you!


About Lauraplant82

Hi there! I'm a mid-30s, Torontonian, virgo, true-crime obsessed, horror-obsessed, travel-obsessed, ...scrabble-obsessed, stargazing wannabe-novelist. I'd love to meet ya! :D Here is the link to my submission for Pophorrors 'meet the writers' segment: https://pophorror.com/meet-our-writers-laura-plant/

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