Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 22, 2021)
Back in 1996, The Craft failed to find a huge audience, as its $24 million US gross left it in 66th place for the year. However, it seems to have done better on video and became regarded as a cult flick.
So why did it take nearly a quarter of a century for a sequel to finally emerge? I don’t know, but 2020’s The Craft: Legacy finally offers a continuation of the story.
Teenager Lily Schechner (Cailee Spaeny) moves to a new town with her mom Helen (Michelle Monaghan). This means a fresh family, as Helen plans to marry Adam Harrison (David Duchovny), a man with three sons of his own.
When Lily enters high school, classmates Frankie (Gideon Adlon), Tabby (Lovie Simone), and Lourdes (Zoey Luna) befriend her after an embarrassing incident. Initially unbeknownst to Lily, her three new pals operate their own coven, and they need a fourth member to pull off their plans.
Lily gets to know the girls and becomes part of their group, she learns may be in over her head. This leads her to need to make choices about her future.
Publicity materials for Legacy refer to it as a “continuation” of the 1996 film, which sounds like a euphemism for “sequel”. Whatever term Sony chooses, Legacy barely feels like a next chapter in the tale.
Instead, it comes across like a reboot or remake. Outside of a wholly gratuitous cameo, nothing about Legacy acts to expand the first movie’s narrative, as instead, this one tells a virtually identical story.
So why tout Legacy as a “continuation” and not a reboot? I have no idea – perhaps the studio thought the sequel concept would entice fans of the original who might resist the notion of a remake.
I thought the 1996 flick was moderately entertaining and that was about it. My review mainly talks about how great I thought Robin Tunney looked because I couldn’t find much else to say about the movie.
I locate more to discuss here, largely because Craft doesn’t offer a good film. Whereas the original was lackluster but occasionally fun, the 2020 flick just seems like a plodding mess.
Basically a female empowerment story garbed in fantasy/horror clothing, Legacy seems more like a collection of themes without much real narrative or development. We never get to know the various girls especially well, and they develop their powers far too quickly to make sense.
In the case of the 1996 movie, it threw out enough cleverness and snarky charm to keep us with it. Legacy can’t do the same, as it becomes a trite, leaden enterprise.
The horse drives the cart here, as the vague plot of Legacy exists mainly to advocate its social themes. These take the film down increasingly eye-rolling choices that detract from any dark thrills the film might provide.
Look, I’m all for progressive concepts in movies – when those films execute them in a competent manner. In this instance, though, Legacy feels like it exists to promote those notions more than to create an entertaining movie.
It doesn’t help that unlike the original “R”-rated flick, Legacy goes for “PG-13”. This neuters it, as the story’s occasional adult notions get dumbed down to avoid an “R”.
Though a 21st century reworking of The Craft could work, Legacy just doesn’t find its groove. Perhaps a sequel to this “continuation” might fare better, but this flick simply fails to connect.