Hexing Is Serious: The Craft Legacy (2020) - Reviewed

image courtesy Blumhouse

After 24 years, a new batch of teenage witches is here to take over in Blumhouse's latest dark arts film, The Craft: Legacy

When a quad of talented young women are introduced to each other in a high school bathroom, their coven is suddenly complete. They quickly begin using witchcraft as a hobby, which of course ends up leading to trouble and an epic showdown between good and evil. Starring Cailee Spaeny in the lead role with support from Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Michelle Monaghan and a wayward David Duchovny, Legacy bears all the markers of being an expansion of 1996's The Craft but ultimately takes way too many shortcuts in the story telling department. Instead of seizing on the talents of this dynamic set of actors, director Zoe Lister-Jones in partnership with the execs at Blumhouse seemed to think short and sweet was the way to go. They were wrong. By the time this gets moving, it's almost over. 

Using a similar setup and strangely similar plot to the original, this remake/sequel/continuation never really had a chance to be as good as its '90s predecessor. It just does nothing original or envelope pushing with its material. Instead of trying to do something new, the writers here were straight up lazy. The Craft: Legacy isn't necessarily a terrible movie. But its PG-13 rating and reliance on nostalgia becomes a crutch as the film moves from beginning to conclusion. Luckily though, the characters here are likable enough and do a great job of carrying the minimal material they're given to work with. Modern themes of inclusion are a positive. 

photo courtesy Blumhouse

The first movie was a product of its time and captured the alternative punk/goth set that filled the landscape during the decade that really brought alt rock into the mainstream. The Craft was a timely piece and study of teenage female empowerment during a period when it was so very needed. The Craft: Legacy does exactly what Creed and The Force Awakens did for Rocky and Star Wars. It uses the known story and does a soft reboot that gives the current youth something to enjoy while letting older fans feel connected by our love for the original. 

One thing that really drags this one down is the lack of a strong soundtrack. The '96 movie was a self contained catalog of era defining bands like Our Lady Peace, Juliana Hatfield, Spacehog, Elastica and numerous others. Legacy takes a shortcut in the music department and skimps on making important use of that one specific element. That alone is enough to make drastic comparisons between the two movies. Audiences often times connect to a film by its choice of soundtrack. Where it could have helped carry some of the scenes of this latest Craft flick, it's just missing altogether. One other detail that falls into the positive category is that they didn't over use CGI or visual effects. 

The Craft:Legacy isn't altogether bad. It's just too short, misses out on some much needed character development, and nearly wastes David Duchovny's talents. Though the eyes of the viewer, there's something here but it's just not enough. There's no real spark. It just seems that if they had spent a little more time differentiating from the first Craft and would have put some more work into expanding the script to bring a real threat into the story this would have been far greater. Is it worth a watch? Sure. But just remember that lightning never strikes twice.