If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.
I’m not even sure where to start here. I kind of what to go back in time to when just, The Craft existed. Its ‘legacy’ was so disappointing. I tried to consider if I’d like it if it wasn’t connected with The Craft and no, I still wouldn’t. It was saturated in modernity, in a forced way. It tried too hard to place the film in today’s society rather than focus on the plot itself.
The 1996 original movie, The Craft is now considered a 90’s classic. A tale of three young girls who who commandeer a fourth witch, the girl next door who just moved into town – to complete their coven.
The original cast was just absolutely perfect and the plot did a wonderful job of giving each character a backstory, placing them in their own individual reality. The film managed to do this not only quickly but quite early enough in the film to make sense. This achieves a sense of familiarity with the viewer so we can cathartically go through the events. Each character had something about them that differentiated them from one another.
The remake left me puzzled from the lazy approach to characterization. The prompt bonding between these girls, displayed through cheesy montage sequences left little to be desired concerning character development and pacing.
On the topic of pace, the remake paced itself way too slowly in places that couldn’t have been shorter and too quick in places that had room for exploration.
After Timmy and Lily’s rendezvous in her bedroom after that awkward dinner, she goes to sleep a happy girl, only to be awoken by an eerie shadow lurking in the corner of her room. This turns out to be Isiah, her stepbrother, sleepwalking . It is missing context and relevance. There is such a long build up to the reveal of this shadowy figure, only for the rushed reveal and a jump cut back to school the next day. These moments caused laughter in the cinema amongst viewers which is not a bad thing, but I’m not sure it was the intention.
I appreciate the film’s attempt at modernizing the story, but it completely fell flat for me. There were areas that had potential, yet weren’t fully explored. For example, the toxic male character of Adam, played by Callifornication’s, David Duchovny acted as a mens right’s activist type, obsessed with strength, both emotional and physical. The film outlines the threat being male from the beginning where leading lady, Lily gets her period and unfortunately bleeds through her jeans and her chair, on to the floor…that’s a flow if ever I’ve seen one. This moment got a lot of sympathy from ,myself and my cinematic peers, especially when the whole class taunts her for it, Timmy the bully taunting the most. So of course, the remake, or continuation should I say borrowed the plot of the girls putting a spell on the main, male bully. The gender confrontations in the film are quite boring to watch, honestly. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel more like this with female-directed Legacy, than the original, male directed 90’s film, but alas it’s the truth my friends.
I found the toxic male aspect quite hyperbolic due to the fact that it was never properly addressed. The subtleties didn’t have an interesting outcome, it more just left me bewildered. Adam’s three sons, biblically named Abe, Isiah and Jacob were an interesting focus of the film, yet didn’t play a big a part as it seems in the beginning. One evening Lily gets some air in the garden, pissed at her new stepdad for getting involved in her school troubles with harsh discipline, who does she meet out there? Only little Abe – who looks slightly younger than Lily and at first attempts to comfort Lily only to split casually into a solid defense of his father’s behavior. He explains, ‘there is a reason he has gotten to where he is now, I mean people travel from all over to hear him speak’. The idolization this kid has for his dad is sweet but scary. I would have liked to have learnt more about this character.
Having said that, is this a film about female witches, or toxic masculinity and the victimhood of the sons of these toxic males?
I appreciated Lister-Jones’ choice to ditch the school uniforms – a slightly fetishized aspect of the original’s. However, the costuming in the Gen Z continuation read forced to me and it didn’t appear that the characters felt one with the clothes they were wearing. Costume designer Deborah Everton ditched the school uniforms, (iconic from the original) in order to showcase the personal styles of the girls as much as possible. I think more attention should been paid on the script to achieve this, rather than over-stylized costumes.
The process of bonding occurred very rapidly to me, and I didn’t have enough time to get to know the characters, to then suddenly appreciate them in group activities. So when, the four girls and their new best mate Timmy sit in a circle to play 2 truth, 1 lie – Timmy reveals he is bisexual.
This was a heartbreaking scene and Nicholas Galitzine’s performance is perfect.
This scene could have been one of my favorites if not for Tabby’s script.
‘I wish I had more Black friends, I don’t like Beyonce’. At first, I was totally shocked by these quotes having a place in the script. It seemed to me that this speech was unnecessarily profiled to the black character. On second thought, I considered Rachel True’s character in the original – Rochelle and how accurate it would be at a high school for there to be one black girl in a friendship group of only white girls. I thought the remake or ‘sequel’ to the original could address race in a more beneficial way than just outlining the obvious – she’s the only black girl in the group and of course she likes Beyoncé…
This almost killed the revelatory moment of Timmy confiding in these girls, and for a moment I sat and watched this young vulnerable male tell his pain and that was extremely powerful. So I’m grateful for this moment in the film, I just wish it had it’s moment instead of the director needed to be overly PC and lazily address the issue of race. A topic which has a lot to do with the original and Rachel True’s experience of being part of this film and how her race affecting opportunities in promotion, whilst the three other actresses were put in the spotlight. Here, Legacy could have really done something beautiful and effective.
Some performances were admirable, leading lady Cailee Spaeny delivered very well, especially performing a masturbation scene as a relatively new actor to the big screen – commendable. Michelle Monaghan as Lily’s mother, Helen also gave a great performance. And how can I forget the jaw-dropping, if not slightly predictable final moment wherein Fairuza Balk herself as Nancy is revealed to be Lily’s birth mother. There were multiple holes in the plot, which some people have speculated to be due to Covid-related filming restrictions, which is a real shame. In summary, I would not watch again, but I highly recommend the original for all it’s cult-y glory. The tales of spooky things occurring during filming, Fairuza Balk, who plays Nancy Downs actually buying the witch store in the film. Sometimes films are all-around special and develop a life of their own and for me, Legacy isn’t strong enough for that, it’s not that powerful.