Movie Review: ‘The Craft: Legacy’ – The Nerd Daily

Article contributed by Daniel A
A sequel to the 1996 film The Craft, The Craft: Legacy follows Lily (Cailee Spaeny) as her and her mother, Helen (Michelle Monaghan), move to a new town to live with Helen’s boyfriend Adam (David Duchovny). Adam has three sons, and is a successful mens self-help author and inspirational speaker. At school, Lily is humiliated in class by Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine) when she gets her period and he makes a scene. She runs to the bathroom embarrassed, but is offered jeans by Tabby (Lovie Simone), Frankie (Gideon Adlon), and Lourdes (Zoey Luna). The trio are aspiring witches, and when they recognise a wiccan symbol on Lily’s necklace they are excited for her to become their ‘fourth’, the fourth element that will allow them to become a coven and perform magic together. From there the coven bond by using magic – telekinesis, telepathy, time-freezing, levitation – and decide to break into Timmy’s house and perform a spell that will awaken him to his ‘highest self’ in retaliation for his behaviour towards Lily.
This spell is the inciting incident for the forward progression of a plot throughout The Craft: Legacy. Being a third of the way through the film by this point, it is slow-paced for its short runtime of 90 minutes. This is made all the more superfluous by the minimal development of what should have been the film’s main focus, its four female leads. Instead, The Craft: Legacy bizarrely chooses to spend more time developing its male characters. Duchovny is a scene-stealer as the creepy step-father/potential cult leader Adam, and is given a lot of screen-time as a constant sense of foreboding within Lily’s life. A lot of time and development is devoted to the character of Timmy post-spell as well, as the stereotypical high school jock becomes woke and starts talking about being cisgender, dismissing heteronormative ideology and coming out as bisexual. It’s difficult because these scenes with Timmy are the films best, being the most interesting and emotional of the stories The Craft: Legacy chose to tell. But they cause ambivalence because it’s the wrong story to tell when a group of young powerful women are at the centre of the film. Not telling a story with Luna’s, a transgender actress, character Lourdes is a waste. It seems hypocritical of a film attempting to deconstruct patriarchal archetypes to spend so much time focusing on its male characters.

Although The Craft: Legacy spends so much time setting itself up there are also a lot of plot contrivances that make the story seem less thought out. The dividing conflict between Lily and the coven towards the end of the film, the revelation that Lily performed another spell on Timmy, occurs after he has committed suicide. It seems odd that they would think a love spell would be the cause of his death. They abandon Lily in her time of need, and then not only decide to bind her powers, but bind their own out of fear of what they might do. Had Lily been showing more reckless abandon with her powers, or if Adam had tried to manipulate the girls against each other, it would make sense, but neither of these things occur so their reactions are unfounded. The concept is switched from the story that plays out in The Craft, where it’s Sarah who must stand up against her power-hungry coven, but the idea is poorly executed. Just as soon as the coven bound their powers Timmy’s message from beyond the grave reveals to them that Adam has killed him, and without explanation the coven regains their powers and goes to save Lily from him. As enigmatic as Duchovny is as the villainous Adam, his character ends up being rather one dimensional. He’s after Lily’s power, and presumably the rest of her coven’s, but it’s not explained why. Nor is how he knew who Lily and her real mother were, and the fact that he was a warlock is only mentioned after he is defeated by the coven. In what could have been the film’s saviour, the third act just brings with it more frustrations of unfulfilled potential.
The film ends with a twist in regards to Lily’s heritage that links Legacy directly to The Craft, potentially hinting at another film in the series. Although The Craft: Legacy is a competent film, it is one overshadowed by its inability to fulfil its potential as a worthy successor to the original film.
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