The Craft: Legacy Splits Critics: Some Call Sequel a 'Wild Ride,' Others Say It's 'Disappointing'
Reviews for The Craft: Legacy are in, and while the sequel has cast a spell on most film critics, it failed to impress some others.
Released on Wednesday through video-on-demand services — and just in time for Halloween — the sequel to the classic 1996 teen movie has received generally positive reviews from critics, with six top critics rating the film as "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.
Written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, the new film features an eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches, played by Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna, who get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound magical powers.
Jason Blum's Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment produced the film for Columbia Pictures.
Kate Erbland of IndieWire described the follow-up film as a "clever sequel that understands the film’s legacy and is all too happy to thrust into a brave new world."
She added that the film "is an entertaining and insightful mashup of tropes, both respectful of what came before and willing to try new tricks."
The New York Times critic Kristen Yoonsoo Kim said the film lacked "a bewitching quality," adding that it "is a disappointing distillation of the original that's mostly devoid of personality."
"This rendition lacks fully developed characters with dark pasts or a dangerous hunger for power," she said.
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Elsewhere, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film, which he deemed as one that "respectfully explores a number of timely and relevant issues."
"The Craft: Legacy is a smart, edgy, wickedly funny and wild ride from the talented writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones," he added. "Lister-Jones infuses nearly every shot with style in delivering one of the better looking and more involving horror films of the year."
But Mary Sollosi from Entertainment Weekly differed in opinion, as she gave the film a C- rating on the publication's website.
"By the end of Legacy, each of the witches has become less interesting and less distinct," she wrote. "You’ll find yourself asking, where are the weirdos, Lister-Jones? I'm sorry to tell you: They got left in the ‘90s."
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Lister-Jones, who made her directorial debut with Band Aid in 2017, confirmed The Craft was getting a sequel in March 2019, after Deadline first reported the news.
"Dreams. Coming. True," she wrote on Instagram alongside the outlet's headline, adding a witch emoji.
The original The Craft revolved around new-girl Sarah, played by Robin Tunney, as she falls in with a group of outcast girls who perform witchcraft and worship a powerful deity named Manon. The three girls — played by Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True — encourage Sarah to tap into her supernatural side, and the foursome become a coven. But when Sarah’s crush Chris (played by Riverdale’s Skeet Ulrich) makes up a nasty rumor about her, all four girls cast spells that turn out to have dire consequences. In the end, Sarah saves herself and her town by taking away the other girls’ powers.
The Craft: Legacy is now available on-demand everywhere.