YMMV / The Craft

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Did Nancy attack Chris in outrage over his attempted rape of Sarah, or was she just jealous that Chris was obsessed with Sarah and not her, even when the infatuation had become disturbing and dangerous?
    • Was Bonnie really that unjustified in acting vain after spending nearly her whole life covered in scars? On the other hand, her behaviour post-makeover points to her being superficial and perhaps getting scarred was a Break the Haughty for her? Bonnie seems to be more sadistic than Rochelle - who seems to be intimidated by Nancy - so maybe she was never really that 'nice' to begin with.
    • Also Rochelle. To some it may feel that what she did to Laura was entirely deserved. Notably it's not Rochelle herself who enacts the revenge - it's Sarah doing it for her. Rochelle's only wish was that she wouldn't let the bullying bother her.
    • Was Chris’ attempted rape of Sarah really entirely the result of the love spell gone wrong? Or was he always capable of it and the spell simply removed his usual inhibitions? He certainly doesn’t have much respect for women, viewing them merely as playthings/sex objects and has an arrogant and entitled attitude, particularly in regards to sex.
    • It's up in the air if Nancy felt anything for her friends at all. A deleted scene has her chew them out, claiming "I have saved you all from oblivion" - so it could be that she sought out other outcasts just to make herself more powerful. She seems to view them as minions more than anything else, and is paranoid that they'll side with Sarah. Then again sometimes she seems to genuinely have fun with the girls, like in the glamour and levitation scenes.
  • Ass Pull: Bonnie and Rochelle's abrupt Face–Heel Turn in the third act. With Nancy it was understandable but it's never explained with them. A Deleted Scene shows that Bonnie and Rochelle made one attempt at talking Nancy down, but she shames them into sticking with her by pointing out that she's their only friend.
  • Broken Base: Over whether Laura should be sympathised with. Some viewers feel her racism towards Rochelle makes her unforgivable and she deserved everything she got. Others point to her being a naive teenager who seemed to learn her lesson after her Break the Haughty.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: "I Have The Touch" by Heather Nova. Also Love Spit Love's cover of "How Soon Is Now" - originally by The Smiths and Letters to Cleo's cover of The Cars' "Dangerous Type".
  • Cry for the Devil: Although Nancy was completely Ax-Crazy, you have to feel sorry for her ending up in a mental hospital.
  • Cult Classic: Became regarded as one fairly quickly after its release (although it was more financially successful than expected). It's particularly popular amongst young women and inspired later films and TV shows such as Charmed (which began airing two years after The Craft was released).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Nancy gets viewed very sympathetically by fans despite murdering two people and all the sadistic stuff she does to Sarah in the third act - including trying to drive her to suicide and making her believe her parents died. These try to imagine her as being corrupted by the powers when it seems to be more of a case of being crazy first and then getting the powers. It helps that she's played in a sympathetic light, being apparently subjected to Slut-Shaming in the pasta, seems to deal with sexual harassment from an abusive stepfather and shows signs of genuine friendship and care for her mother before her Sanity Slippage, as well as having a darkly charasmatic personality.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Rochelle's entire characterization revolves around her race. A deleted scene reveals that it's not just Laura who's a racist bitch; the entire school ostracizes her because she's black (except Nancy, who throws it in Rochelle's face when she and Bonnie try to get her to lay off the magic). Many viewers were annoyed by the film's clumsy handling of racism and that Rochelle had no character beyond that.
  • Fair for Its Day: Despite the problems with how Rochelle's race was handled, Rachel True points out that at the time the film came out, it was rare to see a black female lead in a mainstream movie. Rochelle is also not a Sassy Black Woman, nor is she from the ghetto - Rachel True also taking the time to highlight that there were either "black movies set in the hood or else white movies that everyone sees". For years she was approached by other girls of colour who were happy that a middle-class black girl was one of the leads in a mainstream film. She remembers being annoyed that her parents were cut out of the film while the others' weren't but then..
    "And this was 20 years ago, so then I said, 'Listen, you’re black and you’re in the movie. That’s pretty good already.'"
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Sarah and Nancy have their fair share of shippers, even when they're not friends. Doesn't help with Nancy's Ambiguously Bi moments and her obsession with Sarah.
  • Foe Yay: Does Nancy seem just a little too obsessed with Sarah?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • One of the first spells the girls cast is to make the car hit the snake guy. Nathaniel Marston, who plays one of Chris's friends Trey, died in a car accident twenty years later.
    • Rochelle being Out of Focus is harsher when Rachel True revealed that she was left out of a lot of the press for the film in contrast to the three other leads - who all attended the MTV Movie Awards while she didn't. According to her, one of the other actresses had to call the studio and get them to include her on a press junket.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In this movie, while settling into a new home and way of life in the big city, our psychologically troubled teen hero falls in with a group of friends who practice magic by channeling the power of a metaphysical entity. One of these friends - the eventual Big Bad of the story - can manipulate lightning, has a lot more to teach about magic than the others, and is sinister, charismatic, and delightfully hammy. The protagonist delves deeper and deeper into the supernatural arts and is quickly revealed to have far more natural ability than the other practitioners. Unfortunately, after foraying into Black Magic under the Big Bad's guidance, the protagonist becomes isolated and morally off track. And even though our hero embraced darkness partly for the sake of a relationship, the dark arts turn the relationship disturbing and creepy, and the Love Interest ends up dying as a result. Keep in mind, this movie was made three years before George Lucas started releasing the Star Wars prequels.
    • This gets even better when you realize the plot even bears similarities to the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which was released nearly twenty years later. Sarah’s character arc is rather similar to Rey’s arc in The Force Awakens; they’re both Troubled, but Cute girls with Dark and Troubled Pasts (Sarah’s mother died in childbirth, for which she feels guilty, she has trouble making friends and suffered from depression; Rey was abandoned by her parents, lives relatively alone and is essentially a slave in all but name). They’re born with extraordinary abilities but have yet to fully understand their powers or tap into their true potential until the end. They both receive help from a motherly figure with knowledge of magic/the Force (Lirio for Sarah, Maz Kanata for Rey) who tries to guide them and tells them they are strong with the light, but both girls flee in terror and self-doubt after experiencing horrific visions. They both have to face off against an equally powerful villain who uses the dark side and are both Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Man Chilren with a lust for power (though not devoid of sympathetic traits), who try to get inside their heads and use their weaknesses against them. Just when all hope seems lost, Sarah and Rey both find the courage to ‘surrender to a higher power/use the Force’, embracing their abilities and kicking the bad guy’s ass. They even both give the villains some nasty scars to remember them by (Rey slashes Kylo Ren across the face with a lightsaber, whilst Sarah kicks Nancy into mirror).
    • Nancy and Kylo Ren have yet more similarities, as well. They're both Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunettes, both wear black constantly and generally act like sullen Jerkasses when they're not throwing a screaming fit. They both feel insecure and isolated deep down and cover it up by acting tough. They both generally treat their 'lackeys' like crap and aren't above threatening them. They've also both got parental issues and both kill their father/father figure. And they're both jealous of/obsessed with the hero.
    • Another one: a teenage girl moves to a new city, and soon falls in with a group of three female classmates who seem nice at first, but quickly reveal themselves to be utterly monstrous. After being exposed full-blast to her friends' villainy, our heroine resolves to destroy their power. As Lindsay Ellis noted in her review of this film, this is essentially the plot of Mean Girls, only that film was a comedy without any supernatural elements — and in her opinion, a better film for it.
    • Christine Taylor suffers rapid hair loss in this film. In an episode of Friends, she guest stars and Rachel convinces her to shave her head bald. Bonus points for her being named Bonnie (the name of Neve Campbell's character in this).
    • Rachel True, who plays Rochelle, previously had a role in the 1995 film Embrace of the Vampire, which also starred Alyssa Milano. Milano later went on to play Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed, who like Rochelle, is a witch...andCharmed was even said to have been inspired by The Craft. Rachel True mocked Aaron Spelling for making the witches in Charmed sisters, calling it an excuse not to cast an actress of colour. The 2018 reboot of Charmed gave all the sisters a Race Lift to become Latina.
    • Nancy says of Chris that he comes onto anything with a pulse. Bonnie then says "except me". Chris is played by Skeet Ulrich and Bonnie by Neve Campbell. They played boyfriend and girlfriend in Scream (1996) just one year later. Also Breckin Meyer - who plays Chris's friend - nearly got the part of Randy, who would be a rival to Skeet's character in Scream.
  • Hollywood Homely: Bonnie has scars that prevent the other kids in school from finding her attractive. But she's still Neve Campbell. The scars don't affect her face and she only wears baggy clothes and Messy Hair. Once the scars are gone, everyone instantly finds her hot. It's possible that it's less because Bonnie is actually physically unattractive and more because her self-consciousness over her scars and lack of confidence make her less attractive.
  • Informed Wrongness: Sarah claims that Bonnie has become "totally narcissistic" since her scars vanished. The only real evidence of this is Bonnie wearing a t-shirt in class and flirting with a random guy on the street. Granted she doesn't seem too nice any more but that just seems a result of sloppy writing than her sudden beauty.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Nancy is a horrible person but it's not hard to feel sorry for her when you see that she lives in a trailer park, with an alcoholic mother and abusive stepfather.
    • Laura Lizzie starts out as a racist Alpha Bitch but when her hair falls out and leaves her wearing a wig, it makes her far more pitiable.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Despite the most gothic girl turning out to be the villain, the movie has a huge fanbase of goth and punk girls.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Nancy's attempts to get Sarah to kill herself and, possibly, her murder of Chris beforehand. It's the latter which makes Sarah realize that Nancy has to be stopped, in any case.
  • Narm Charm: Fairuza Balk's performance, especially as Nancy goes off the deep end, is simultaneously hammy and terrifying at the same time.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Teresa Lisbon and Sidney Prescott were witches. Neve Campbell was reasonably known at the time thanks to Party of Five but it was in Acclaimed Flop territory at the time.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: It might be lost on newer fans just how different the movie was when it first came out. Teen Urban Fantasy was not a mainstream genre - the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed wouldn't hit the air for a couple of years - producer Andy Wick said "It was before YA. There were very few female heroines like that.", and the notion of a girl-centered teen movie called to mind something like Clueless as opposed to anything dark. The filmmakers didn't even know who they were really marketing the film to - until hundreds of goth and punk girls showed up to the preview.
  • Signature Scene: Probably the "light as a feather, stiff as a board" scene. The scene where the girls first try using glamours and the climax with the house crawling with snakes, insects and rodents are well-known, too.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Bonnie and Rochelle are demoted to being Nancy's minions in the third act. While there is a little bit of conflict over what Nancy does to Sarah, it's barely touched on. Bonnie and Sarah in particular appeared to be good friends, but this is never touched on at all. Special mention is given to Bonnie acting vain and bitchy after losing her scars, but not much of this is shown.
    • Rochelle has virtually no character outside of her race; when the writers classified the girls according to the elements, they said that Sarah is Earth because she is the most grounded, Bonnie is Air because she sees things others don't, Rochelle is Water because of her love for swimming, and Nancy is Fire because she is passionate and unpredictable. Even the writers can't come up with character traits to define Rochelle.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Although some scenes do look a bit outdated by today's standards, other scenes involving magic still look very believable, a notable example being the scene where the girls levitate Rochelle.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sarah lost her mother in childbirth and it's implied she feels a lot of guilt over it - and indeed Nancy taunts her for it. She also tried to kill herself prior to the move, and she really just wants to have friends. Robin Tunney is very good at looking like a kicked puppy when she wants to.
    • Rochelle suffers racial taunts from the school's Alpha Bitch and deleted scenes reveal that she is the only black girl in a white middle-class neighborhood - with uptight parents too.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheCraft