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Film: The Craft

The Craft is a 1996 teen horror film about four high-school outcasts who practice witchcraft, and how the use of their powers affects their friendships and relationships. It starred Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Robin Tunney.

Sarah Bailey, a troubled teenager from San Francisco, moves to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother. Enrolling in a local Catholic school, she inadvertently attracts the attention of three of the school's outcasts: Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle, who also happen to be witches.

Each of the three suffers from a personal problem of some kind: Nancy lives in a trailer with her mother and abusive stepfather, Rochelle suffers racist harassment by the school's Alpha Bitch, and Bonnie has severe burn scars all over her body.

The four decide to use their powers for personal gain, casting vengeful spells against those that wronged them.

The film is notable for hiring an actual Wiccan as a script consultant and another one to play Nancy. But since Wicca is a pretty mundane religion in real life, most of their suggestions were ignored in the name of Artistic License.

See also The Covenant, which is essentially the same premise but with lead guys instead.


This film contains examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: The god Mannon is is described as such. The girls try to do the same with their magic. It doesn't work.
  • Abusive Parents: Heavily implied with Nancy's step-father.
  • Alpha Bitch: Laura Lizzie.
  • Artistic License: Unlike most films of this ilk, they actually did the research on Wicca before making the film. Since an accurate portrayal of Wicca wouldn't make for a very good horror movie, though, most of it (apart from some flavoring) got thrown out in favor of a Charmed or Buffy-style approach.
    • The shopkeeper's line "Why don't you read this? It explains it all" — and she gives Sarah one book — probably counts as Somewhere An Occultist Is Crying (or laughing fit to bust), if there was such a thing.
  • Asshole Victim: Chris (though admittedly, his stalking and rape attempt was the result of a love spell), Laura, Nancy's stepfather.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nancy, after she gets her powers.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • It's no coincidence that Bonnie's burn scars stop just below her face.
    • Averted with Laura. Rochelle causes her hair to fall out as revenge for her racist bullying.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rochelle and Sarah experience this with their use of magic. Sarah wishes for Chris to like her and initially enjoys it when he becomes her slave. Then he ends up trying to rape her. Likewise Rochelle wishes for revenge on the school bully but then feels sorry for her when the revenge goes too far.
  • Beautiful All Along: Bonnie when her scars are removed.
  • Beta Bitch: Laura has one to giggle at her taunts to Rochelle.
  • Bitch Alert: Inverted. Laura Lizzie's character introduction is leaving a night with Chris and his friends, saying "nice meeting you Sarah" with a sincere smile. However we see her true character at the swim practice.
    • It is however a straight example for Nancy. When Sarah meets her and the girls, she asks to be their lab partners. Nancy says nothing and just glares at her.
  • Break the Cutie: An example where the cutie breaks you in the end.
  • Cat Fight: In the climax between Sarah and Nancy. It's a serious fight, though, and it is not played for Fanservice.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Par for the course.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: In the process of magic, Bonnie turns from sweet caring girl into vain and narcissistic...well...witch.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Nancy by the end.
  • Darkened Building Fight
  • Date Rape Averted: A love spell gone wrong make Chris so obsessed with Sarah that he eventually tries to rape her by the side of the road when she rejects his advances again when he goes on a date with her. She knees him in the groin, and runs away.
  • Dawson Casting: All the girls, but special mention should go to Rachel True who was 30 when she played Rochelle.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The deaths of Chris and Nancy's redneck stepfather.
    • Maybe not the latter. At one point he lifts Nancy's skirt, but neither she nor her mother comment on it; at best, Nancy looks angry and annoyed, her mother doesn't notice. And then he and her mother start having sex just outside her bedroom door, while Nancy lies on her bed trying to shut it out.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. Nancy uses a Glamour to make Chris think she is Sarah and prepares to fool around with him on the bed. When she is discovered, Chris is disgusted and it's presented as something very wrong.
    • Another aversion could be Sarah's spell on Chris. Technically Sarah is the rapist in this situation, casting a love spell that causes him to obsess over her. And her spell turns him into a would-be rapist.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sarah attempted suicide in the past. Bonnie's comments on Sarah's scarred wrists "you even did it the right way" indicate she may have at least considered it. Combined with the events of the film, this makes Nancy's plan to kill Sarah and make it look like suicide pretty plausible.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: All of the girls (except Rochelle obviously), but Nancy the most.
  • Fallen Princess: The Alpha Bitch Laura-Lizzie after her hair has fallen out and she has to wear a wig.
  • Flat Character: Bonnie and Rochelle have no characterization outside of their "freak" status.
  • Four Element Ensemble: Sarah is Earth, Nancy is Fire, Rochelle is Water and Bonnie is Air.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sarah is melancholic, Nancy is choleric, Rochelle is phlegmatic and Bonnie is sanguine.
  • Four Girl Ensemble: Sarah is The Ingenue.
  • Glamour: Using magic to change your appearance is just so much simpler than going to a salon.
  • Goth: Nancy. The lone psycho variety.
  • Green Eyes: Sarah, and Nancy.
  • Hot Witch: All four of the girls have their moments.
  • Jerk Jock: Chris.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Nancy, towards the end of the movie.
  • Love Potion: Sarah puts Chris under a love spell after he pretended to be interested in her, but turned out to just be an asshole instead. It works fine at first, until Chris becomes so enamored with Sarah that he starts stalking her, culminating in a date rape attempt. Nancy then kills him in retaliation.
  • Mind Rape: What Nancy tries to do to Sarah.
  • Missing Mom: Sarah's mother (who was also a witch) died when she was a baby, which leads her to try to find out more about her.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Bonnie and Rochelle bail on Nancy after she threatens to slit the latter's throat if they don't follow her orders.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Sarah, both to the school and to magic.
  • Narcissist: Bonnie, after her scars vanish.
  • Parental Substitute: Sarah receives advice from the owner of the magic shop.
  • Plot Hole: Bonnie wears baggy clothes to hide her scars. After she first starts treatment for them she is suddenly wearing less clothes but then in another scene the scars are back and when they finally disappear Bonnie walks into class wearing the same type of clothes she'd been wearing before and everyone is suddenly reacting to that.
    • The occasion when she's wearing fewer clothes is when the four go on an outing to the countryside. Her scars are still partly visible, and it seems to be more because she's more comfortable to expose them among the rest of the coven than she is at school.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Sarah to Nancy
    "Oh, and he (Mannon) wanted me to give you a message: You're in deep shit."
  • Primal Fear: The house full of snakes.
  • Rape as Drama: Almost happens to Sarah.
  • Reality Subtext: Fairuza Balk, the actress who plays Nancy, is a Wiccan in real life, and used to own an occult shop.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Specifically, Snakes Are Evil.
  • Rule of Three: The entire magic outline revolves around the power of "Three Times Three." Meaning once the spell is cast, the caster is marked and it comes back to them 3 times better or worse depending on the spell. In Sarah's case, she casted a love spell. and it slowly escalated times 3. The first time was the spell itself working, Chris became a mindless love slave, that did whatever Sarah said. The second time it escalated, he became so enamored with Sarah that he began stalking her. The third was when he tried to get her alone so he could rape her.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: The girls are Mistaken for Gay.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Nancy goes to get revenge on Chris after he tried to rape Sarah as a result of the love spell they put on him, apparently by seducing him so she can perform a Groin Attack (which he anticipates). When she fails to get in his pants, she morphs her face into Sarah's to tempt him, which works. A double whammy, since the love spell means Chris didn't really love Sarah either.
  • Shout-Out: Chris refers to Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle as "the bitches of Eastwick."
  • Shower Scene: The girls showering after swimming class, which leads to...
    • Shower of Angst: Laura begins to cry when she realizes her hair is falling out in the shower.
  • Shrinking Violet: Bonnie initially.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Chris when Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Token Minority: Rochelle. She wasn't actually written to be black but when Rachel True was cast, racism was written into her storyline.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sarah, once she realises her raw magic potential, kicks Nancy's ass and cancels out Bonnie and Rochelle's powers for good.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass/Face-Heel Turn: Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle when their magic gets the better of them.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: As part as the girl's trying to break Sarah, they make her hallucinate snakes, maggots, scorpians, rats, cockroaches...
  • Witch with a Capital B: Inverted. Chris describes Nancy and her friends to Sarah as "the Bitches of Eastwick"
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: You don't want to end up like Nancy.
  • Yandere: Chris becomes one after Sarah puts a spell on him. One could argue that Nancy is a Yandere for Chris too.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: All the girls sport this look at various times.


Courage Under FireFilms of the 1990sCrash
The CovenantHorror FilmsThe Crawling Eye

alternative title(s): The Craft
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