Starring: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True
Director: Andrew Fleming
Running Time: 101 mins
The Craft is an American film about a group of high school girls who join together out of their fascination for magic and the occult, but soon find themselves facing a potentially life-threatening crisis when they discover their true powers.
I’ve always found these coming-of-age films about teens with magical powers a little bit overplayed. Whether it’s because of the heavy-handed message or simply preposterous nature of the premise at times, this is a little subgenre that’s never really grown on me.
But The Craft is an exception to that, as it manages to combine genuinely engrossing coming-of-age drama with exciting and strikingly dark fantasy and horror. It’s a film with real gravitas that goes beyond some of the trivialities of high school and growing up, and that makes it a surprisingly gripping watch throughout.
Where the likes of Teen Witch take this sort of premise and run it into the ground with trivial, juvenile drama and preposterous fantasy, the likes of The Craft manage to tie it all together effectively.
Satisfying a desire for high-stakes fantasy and horror, The Craft is far more than a heavy-handed “be careful what you wish for” lecture, actually bringing in engrossing and deep drama in the form of dynamic, engaging characters.
In that, the film doesn’t just focus on the trials of growing up with blatant and simplistic allegories to fantasy, but instead blends both ideas together into one thrilling story. There are moments where it is a little cheesy, and the message at its core is occasionally a little heavy-handed too, but for the most part The Craft is a genuinely gripping horror-drama.
From its surprisingly hard-hitting look at crumbling friendship in the face of unlimited power to a spectacular and intense final act, The Craft isn’t an easy-going watch. Yet for every moment that it pushes the boundaries and goes just that little bit darker, the more gripping and exciting a watch it becomes.
It’s not a plastic, cheesy teeny-bopper fantasy with a one-dimensional story and no spectacle. Instead, this is a genuinely engrossing, exciting and most of all strikingly dark and powerful film throughout.
It may not be entirely affecting all the way through, but as far as the coming-of-age/fantasy genre goes, The Craft is an impressive surprise. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.