Plot: Sarah (Robin Tunney) is the new girl in town, but she makes a few fast friends when she meets some girls at school that stand out from the crowd. These girls are seen as social outcasts and even labeled witches, but Sarah feels a connection to the group and being new, she is glad to find common ground. Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True) dress in black, study the supernatural, and even wish the rumors about being witches were true. Nancy is thrilled when Sarah joins their group, as she sees this as the final piece in their mystical search, since they can now call the four corners. As the girls explore the world of witchcraft, they’re surprised to unlock some real powers and soon, the friends are able to get whatever they want, which they take advantage of. But is this newfound power given freely or is there a cost to using the supernatural for personal gain?
Entertainment Value: A staple of teen angst horror, The Craft is like a Hot Topic store came to life and made a motion picture, soaked in mainstream goth edge, but the end result is quite fun. The narrative is typical teen outsider stuff, but the supernatural elements help it stand out a little and the movie has a lot of b movie cheese, blended with overly serious teen girl drama. I like the melodrama laced in with the horror, but I can see how it might lose some genre fans, especially if their main interest is in the more horror slanted elements. The movie doesn’t put a lot of effort into the scares, so we have some mild horror touches throughout and the finale dials things up, but the real focus is on the characters and the drama involved. I do think that those interested in the witchcraft side of The Craft will be pleased, as there’s a lot of time devoted to the various spells and rituals, even if the exact details are glossed over, in favor of the more kinetic results of those powers. So expect a teen drama with witchcraft involved, more than a horror movie with some teen drama. But I always have fun with this one, as I like the melodrama, over the top performances, and “we’re not like other girls” vibes, so The Craft is an easy recommendation.
The cast is one of the movie’s best ingredients, especially when it comes to the four leading performers. The four ladies in the leads are immense fun to watch, as they play off each other well and bring unique energies to the material. Robin Tunney plays it straight for the most part and turns in a sincere effort, while Fairuza Balk goes for broke in a wild, over the top performance. Balk devours scenes whole and really takes her turn into the stratosphere at times, playing up every goth and teen girl cliche she can muster, which is a lot of fun. Rachel True and Neve Campbell are solid as well, but have mostly reserved performances. Not as unhinged as Balk, but not quite as straight ahead as Tunney, somewhere in the middle. But to me, Balk is the standout and I think her off the deep end work here adds a lot to The Craft, making Nancy a memorable and often ridiculous character. The leads might get most of the attention, but fans of 90s cinema should appreciate the familiar faces in the supporting ensemble. The cast also includes Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer, and Cliff De Young.
The Disc: The Craft was given the Collector’s Edition treatment on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, who has delivered a decent, but unremarkable visual presentation. This disc uses an older master and it shows, as the image has a dated look and could benefit from a fresh scan and restoration. The print is in good condition, but detail is mediocre and the visuals don’t pop off the screen here, which is a shame, as the movie has some terrific visuals. I do think contrast is accurate, which is important since the visuals lean toward the dark end. So this looks fine, but just isn’t the kind of top tier treatment that fans will likely expect. New to this edition are some interviews with director Andrew Fleming and assorted other crew members, with about an hour of content that sheds some light on the film’s production. The other extras have been ported over, such as Fleming’s audio commentary track, a couple of promotional featurettes, some deleted scenes, and the film’s trailer.