It’s a funny thing, really, to revisit films that defined your adolescent years. Sometimes, they can be just as good as you remember. Other times, they aren’t, and you are left questioning why you thought it was a good film in the first place. I think, when I first saw The Craft, it had just premiered on HBO and I had heard some positive chatter from the people at my school. Therefore, I was eager to check it out myself. I didn’t have cable, but a relative did, so I watched it with her and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Then again, I was entering my teens, and I liked just about anything that had to do with horror and mayhem. We all have questionable tastes in movies at some point in our life. Heck, I know I still do.
What’s it like watching The Craft now that I am 34 years old and have progressed my cinematic tastes? Well, it’s certainly not as great as I remember it being. But, at the same time, it kind of works as this adolescent revenge fairy tale. It captures the catiness of high school cliques quite well, but when it comes to the witchcraft aspect, there’s something about it that feels lacking.
Sarah (Robin Tunney) has just moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother. They move into an old mansion that is in dire need of repairs. Upon their arrival, Sarah comes across a crazy, homeless man with a snake that he assures is for her. Things aren’t looking too promising for the young Sarah, and she’s dreading the idea of attending a new Catholic school. Although she doesn’t have her uniform, she decides to attend the first day of class.
Being an outsider, Sarah finds herself falling into a group of other outcasts. She soon discovers that her new friends, Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), and Rochelle (Rachel True), all practice witchcraft. The three ladies notice Sarah demonstrating some powers during the class they have together, and think she will be perfect for their coven. What Sarah is unaware of is, now that she is joining their coven, the gang is able to cast spells they never could before, and that leads to results both positive and negative.
One thing that The Craft did so well upon its release is accurately capture the issues faced by high schoolers. Even today, a lot of what the characters encounter are still relevant. With their powers, the gang is able to cast spells on the people they dislike the most, as well as try to capture the boys they are crushing on. But there’s this distinct feeling that they should be able to do more with their powers. Getting revenge or trying to woo others becomes a bit tiresome after a while.
The Craft is certainly dated on a number of levels. There aren’t too many special effects - the most of them appear during the film’s finale. But when it reaches those final moments, it’s clearly computer generated. The film’s soundtrack is littered with punk-rock music that constantly appears throughout. It’s as if MTV had a say in what songs would appear and how many should be use for the duration of the movie.
It clearly has numerous issues, but The Craft works mostly due to its cast. Balk is especially good as the wide-eyed and crazy Nancy, who has so many twisted ideas that it’s actually a lot of fun just to watch her and how she acts.
Scream Factory is giving fans of The Craft a nice new Blu-ray upgrade to add to their collection. The presentation is a 1080p high definition widescreen transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Though some of the image quality isn’t exactly pristine, and some of the scenes come across as grainier than others, it is a nice look for the film. The sound quality is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and comes across nicely through the speakers. The one issue I had while watching the film is that some of the subtitles had noticeable grammatical errors.
This new release comes loaded with special features, including four new interviews that were made exclusive by the folks at Scream Factory. The people interviewed are director and co-writer Andrew Fleming, producer Douglas Wick, makeup effects supervisor Tony Gardner, and co-writer Peter Filardi. Two behind-the-scenes featurettes that were available on the DVD also make their way to this new collector’s edition. There is also an audio commentary from Fleming and deleted scenes with optional commentary.
The Craft is certainly not a great movie, but it is mostly enjoyable. On a visual aspect, it may be dated. But it still holds up with its portrayal of outcasts in high school and the bad treatment others receive from some of the more popular students. I just kind of wish there was more to them having supernatural powers. In the end, I like it just fine. Those who are big fans of the movie will definitely be interested in picking up this new release. It’s worth dipping into, especially for the special features.
The Craft Collector’s Edition releases to Blu-ray on March 12.