The Craft (1996)

the craft poster 1996 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Decent cast

Bland story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Craft

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 3, 1996

MPAA Rating:  R

the craft coven robin tunney fairuza balk neve campbell rachel true

So witchcraft, eh? I’m in…

Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) is the new girl in town and has attracted the attention of Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie Harper (Neve Campbell) and Rochelle Zimmerman (Rachel True) who see her as the finishing piece to their witch’s coven.  Together the girls are strong and have dreams of revenge, riches, and beauty…and their god Manon could grant them.  Every action has a reaction, and playing with nature could prove dangerous.

Directed by Andrew Fleming, The Craft is a supernatural thriller.  The film was met with mixed to average reviews but became a cult favorite.

I saw The Craft not long after it came out to VHS.  It wasn’t a very good movie, and (to me), it wasn’t very memorable.  Despite this, people began watching the movie in droves and witchcraft was “the thing” for a bit.  Rewatching The Craft, I kind of had the same reaction.

the craft nancy bonnie rochelle rachel true neve campbell fairuza balk

We’re your friends till the end!

The biggest problem with the film is that it is rather bland.  There is a rather quick set-up (Sarah quickly falls into the group instead of slowly being seduced) and they start witchcraft…but they really don’t do that much with it.  Each character has a spell and the movie finally starts going by the end which is a lackluster fight scene where two of the four characters bow out of the fight.

The cast is decent, but all the characters are playing a lot younger than their characters.  Robin Tunney is likable as the lead and Fairuza Balk is always a good unbalanced character (she was a practicing Wiccan and helped with some of the scripting).  Both Neve Campbell and Rachel True never get enough time to develop their characters and could have been more interesting if they had.

the craft nancy downs fairuza balk

Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho!

The film is really limited by when it was made.  In 1996, the movies were kind of stuck between realistic and unrealistic computer generated visuals and makers had to decide if they were going high end or more practical.  The Craft goes practical, but the story might have lent itself better to something a little more technical…the “magic” just isn’t there.

The film feels like a PG-13 movie and it was planned to be PG-13, but the use of witchcraft landed it an R-Rating (allegedly)…it would have worked better as a darker film instead of trying to appeal to a wider audience (which it did).  The Craft created a lot of followers who felt that simply watching The Craft meant they understood the nuances of witchcraft or “put them in tune with nature”.  The film was blatantly emulated (right down to The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now” opening) by the WB series Charmed which ran from 1998-2006…continuing the witchcraft trend, but at least giving the character time to grow.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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