Hey, guys! I am excited, if a bit apprehensive, to do a review of the classic Witchcraft movie The Craft. I know some people who love it while others hate it, and honestly, I can see both sides. I am sort of in the middle because I think there are some really good aspects of this movie and also some really bad points being made about Witches and Witchcraft in this movie. But I do go super in-depth in my spoilery thoughts, so if you have not seen this nineties movie, you definitely should just go watch it and then come back and discuss it with me. If you have seen this movie, let’s just go ahead and get into all of my thoughts!
After transferring to a Los Angeles high school, Sarah (Robin Tunney) finds that her telekinetic gift appeals to a group of three wannabe witches, who happen to be seeking a fourth member for their rituals. Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Nancy (Fairuza Balk), like Sarah herself, all have troubled backgrounds, which combined with their nascent powers lead to dangerous consequences. When a minor spell causes a fellow student to lose her hair, the girls grow power-mad.
I had a lot of thoughts on this movie. I definitely can speak to the accuracy of it in terms of Witchcraft, and there were definitely a shit ton of problems with it in regards to representation. However, there were a few things that I think the movie did well, and those do need to be recognized. However, ultimately, I think the movie probably does more harm than good when it comes to how Witchcraft is viewed and can definitely be seen as making the stigmatization of Witchcraft even worse.
One theme we see throughout the movie that I know many, though not all, Witches do not practice and do not condone. Any Witch or Wiccan can take one look at this movie and tell you it violates one rule that many witches and Wiccans try to live by, and that is this line in the Wiccan Rede that states, “If it does harm to none, then do what you will.” There is a theme of these witches violating the free will of those they are spelling, and that definitely crosses a line. You are harming that person by taking away their own free will. A great example of this in the movie is definitely the love spell that Sarah puts on Chris. That violates his free will. Sarah is forcing him to be so infatuated with her in a way that he never would be, and it is forcing him to do what she wants, which crosses a line to me.
This comes back to another rule that many Witches and Wiccans abide by which is also in the Wiccan Rede, which is the Rule of Three. This basically says that whatever you put out in the world and the universe will return to you three times as hard. If you put good out into the universe, that good will be returned to you three times as much, but if you put negative influences and spells out into the world, that shit is going to clap back at you three times as hard. This also comes back to the idea of Karma and that is intertwined with a lot of Wicca and Witchcraft.
However, I will say the movie does try to show the Rule of Three within the movie, at least to some degree. Yeah, Sarah does perform that love spell on Chris, but that comes back to bite her in the ass hard because he tries to rape her. Lirio, the witch from the spiritual shop, actually goes into the rule of three and how you need to abide by it, which I thought was super great, and I so was not expecting that! That being said, I had problems with the way the girls were handling their craft.
A better representation for Wicca and Witchcraft within the movie might have been rather than a strict love spell that took Chris’s free will and made him basically Sarah’s slave would have been for her to attract love, in general, towards her. Typically attraction spells are more common among Witchcraft and Wicca today rather than a spell to force a specific person to fall in love with you and become obsessed with you.
While I understand how the racist bully Laura in the film was a bitch and that spell showed her getting what was coming to her (even though no one really deserves what happened to the poor girl), that negativity wasn’t adequately shown as going back to Rochelle. Whatever you put out, again, comes back three times as hard. There are so many other ways Rochelle could have handled that situation. Rather than performing a spell to make something horrible happen to Laura, like making her hair fall out, Rochelle could have performed a spell that prevented Laura from inflicting harm on others. Something along those lines would have been better and more positive than a simple revenge spell.
I don’t even know where to start when it comes to Nancy. I never liked her character. She definitely seemed like the darker one, and it honestly didn’t even surprise me that she is the one who causes her stepfather to die of a heart attack and is the one who kills Chris. However, I think the end consequence of her being put in a psychiatric hospital does not justify the lives she took, and I definitely did not agree with how she ended up. I don’t quite know how she should have met her end due to the lives she took, but it definitely should have been worse than simply being put in a psychiatric hospital.
However, having said all of that, one thing this movie really had going for it was this Witch in the spiritual shop the girls got all of their supplies from named Lirio. She actually said some things that I think are true of actual real, breathing witches. My favorite quote from the entire movie was from that Witch who addressed the stigma of white and black magick, something we still hear going around nowadays. She said, “True magic is neither black nor white; it’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time. The only good or bad is in the heart of the witch. Life keeps a balance on its own.” I think that is something everyone needs to keep in mind when it comes to Witchcraft. In addition to this, she actually addressed the Rule of Three among other actual “witch-isms” that I think many Witches live by, which was really refreshing to see in a movie about Witchcraft. Lirio is the reason my rating ended up being higher than I originally was anticipating.
The last half of the movie really was the Hollywood showy version of witchcraft with the bugs and the snakes and rats and such along with the levitating and weather and shit. And while real Witchcraft isn’t anything like that, I actually think the ending was fitting given the shit that went down with Sarah and the other members of her coven. I also don’t think being in a coven is anything even remotely close to this movie. They don’t really turn on each other and try to force other members of the coven to kill themselves. It isn’t really like that at all, so that was definitely Hollywood demonizing coven life for the sake of drama, which I did not appreciate. But overall, I think the movie wasn’t absolutely atrocious and actually had a few Witchcraft and Wiccan principles thrown in, which was surprising.
I’m not going to say this is my favorite Witch movie by any means, however…
And there you have it! That was my review of The Craft. What is your current favorite Witchy movie? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!