‘The Craft: Legacy’ is a thin brew compared with the original

The Craft: Legacy is quite a departure from the original. For example, in The Craft Sarah stands up against her three friends when power corrupts them, whereas in The Craft: Legacy, someone fucks a colorful fleece sweatshirt.

When I re-watched the original in preparation for watching the reboot, I was reminded of how honestly scary it is, and how incredibly 90s and stylish. The styling in the original movie is amazing, and the horror plays out in ways that still resonate. A love spell on Chris (Skeet Ulrich) turns into a dangerous sexual assault.  Nancy (Fairuza Balk), kills Chris as she gives in to her dark leanings. There’s creepy crawlies, spooky wind, murderous furniture–it’s legitimately terrifying!

THE CRAFT: LEGACY ★★★(3/5 stars)
Directed by: Zoe Lister-Jones
Written by: Zoe Lister-Jones
Starring:  Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon
Running time: 97 min

In this version, Lily and her mother move to be with Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons, and there’s friction. Adam is distressingly strict and harsh in a way that screams red flags, we barely see older sons Isaiah and Jacob, and the parents are already have loud screaming matches. Lily does has some sweet, sibling bonding moments with younger son Abe that never pay off. That’s emblematic of the movie, which sets up a lot with little payoff.

Legacy feels far more PG than The Craft, despite coming out of the Blumhouse horror factory. The characters are really charming, especially Gideon Adlon, who I adored in The Society. It has a lighter feel, but hits some of the same painful notes about being a teenage girl. Unfortunately, it characterizes the other members of the coven much more shallowly the original does Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle. I’m thrilled a trans actress plays a trans character, but she barely gets to do anything. We learn very little about any of the girls except their love of telepathic communication and yelling.

In the original, I felt like the characters were more adult, and we rarely if ever saw their parents. In Legacy, we see far too much of the parents. Sorry, but when it comes to a movie about teen girls becoming witches and playing with power they don’t understand, I give not one single care about parents and their drama.

Despite the parental overdose, I largely enjoyed this lighter tone of the first half of the movie. It’s brighter in both look and content, and felt a bit like a cross between Hocus Pocus and a Disney Channel Original movie. They bill Legacy as a sequel, not a reboot, so the extreme difference in tone was a surprise, but a welcome one at first.

Lily, our main character, is petite with serious Edward Cullen vibes, as her friends accurately say. She’s endearing in her anxiousness about being new in school, and when she joins the other three, it’s pretty magical. They put a spell on Timmy, a jerky bully and he just…becomes a great guy and they start hanging out with him.

It’s far different from the dark vibe of Sarah’s love spell on Chris. Then, Timmy leaves his fleece in Lily’s room and she has her way with it. She ends up drawing Timmy to her and they kiss, in a very sweet moment. However, this is the last sweet moment we see.

The Craft Legacy
The witches of ‘The Craft: Legacy’.

This marks the beginning of a tonal shift for the movie, and that tonal shift doesn’t work. It involves a manosphere-adjacent masculinity guru, secret adoption, a complete lifestyle change for David Duchovny, and suicide.

There’s a lot packed in that feels like the start of an interesting story, or the set-up for a sequel. However, to make me want a sequel to Legacy, there needs to be more to compel me to keep watching these characters.

We learn about the connection to the original movie in the last half hour, and we see one character from that movie for approximately two seconds before credits roll. It’s not enough, because the story of Legacy isn’t enough. It doesn’t stand on its own, and it doesn’t do a good enough job of fitting in with its predecessor.

There’s some fun girl power, the beginning of some cute relationships that unfortunately never mature, and a lot of glittery special effects. But while the original had style and substance in abundance, I think Legacy needs to call for assistance from the corners of plot and continuity. It’s fun enough to keep you entertained, but not as memorable or scary as The Craft.

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Kristin Clifford

Kristin Clifford is a comedy writer in Los Angeles. She started in Chicago, studying improv and performing stand-up, but has traded the stage for the page. Recent projects include writing for season 2 of Cathy in Real Life.

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