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Film / The Craft: Legacy

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The Craft: Legacy is a 2020 teen Urban Fantasy horror film. It is a stand-alone sequel to the 1996 film The Craft. It was written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, and stars Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna, Michelle Monaghan and David Duchovny.

When Lily (Spaeny) and her mother (Monaghan) move in with her new stepfamily, she finds herself the target of ridicule at her new school until she is befriended by three fellow outcast girls, Frankie (Adlon), Tabby (Simone) and Lourdes (Luna). The girls reveal they are practicing witches and welcome Lily into their coven. However, things take a turn for the sinister when the young witches begin abusing their powers and it looks as though history may be about to repeat itself.

The film was released on-demand in the United States on October 28th 2020, with a limited theatrical release in other countries.

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The trailer can be viewed here.


Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: The film sets up a few plot threads that don't go anywhere.
    • It's hinted, especially via Abe's interactions with Lily, that the boys have some knowledge of their father's dark secret, but it's never revealed how much they know or if they're in on his evil plan for Lily, with the boys disappearing from the plot after the climax.
    • Isaiah is hinted to be gay or bisexual as he had sex with Timmy, his brother Jacob's best friend, but is keeping it secret and avoiding Timmy because his father wouldn't approve. It's brought up when Timmy is coming out as bisexual and is never addressed again.
    • Isaiah's sleepwalking is brought up once to provide a minor scare when he sleepwalks into Lily's room, which is hinted to be a regular thing, but we receive no further elaboration and it doesn't happen again.
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    • Frankie is mentioned early on as having a crush on Jacob, her new friend Lily's stepbrother, which is then forgotten about for the rest of the movie.
  • Arc Words: "Your difference is your power". First spoken to Lily by Helen as she's trying to reassure her about her new school and Lily later tells her friends the same. In the third act when 'Helen' tells Lily her difference "make[s] [her] dangerous" it tips her off that something's wrong.
  • Artistic License – Biology: When Lily gets her period in class, she's alerted to it by some jocks who notice a few small blood drops on the floor. This was quickly picked up by audiences and critics alike who pointed out that given Lily had bled through both her underwear and jeans, she likely would have noticed the wetness in her pants long before she bled onto the floor (not to mention it would have made more sense for her to have to stand up and the jocks to notice the stain on her pants, than for her to somehow bleed a few small droplets onto the floor without also bleeding all over the seat of her chair.)
  • Aura Vision: The witches learn to see auras, which manifest as colored mist around their heads. They each have different colored auras corresponding to their element. Their auras are also visible when they prepare to take down the villain.
  • Bathroom Stall of Angst: Lily cries inside a bathroom stall after she unknowingly got her period in class and was humiliated for it by some of the other students. Frankie, Tabby and Lourdes arrive to comfort her.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Unlike the original film, the four witches are almost consistently portrayed as good, well-meaning and morally-right in their actions, nor is there much in-group conflict. There is a moment near the end where the girls believe they've done something terrible that causes a rift with Lily, though they all agree it was wrong and it turns out they actually weren't responsible. Meanwhile, the villain of the story is portrayed as a completely evil misogynist with no redeeming traits.
  • Blended Family Drama: Lily has recently moved in with her new stepfather and three stepbrothers, whom she has never previously interacted with much. She has difficulty adjusting and that's before her stepdad is revealed to be the Big Bad.
  • Bury Your Gays: Bisexual character Timmy is murdered by Adam. And it happens just a few days after he comes out as bisexual to his friends.
  • Coming-Out Story: Timmy emotionally comes out to the girls as bisexual, having struggled with it for some time, and they all accept him sympathetically.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several to the original film in the trailer, including three of the witches levitating a fourth and Lily's stepfather telling the girls to be careful of weirdos, to which Lily responds "We are the weirdos, mister."
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • The main antagonist this time around is revealed to be Adam Harrison and he couldn't be more different from Nancy Downs, save for the fact they're both power-hungry.
      • Adam is a grown man who venerates 'traditional Western masculinity' (or his version of it) to the point of sexism, while Nancy was a teenage goth girl who really didn't like men abusing women.
      • Nancy was initially one of the main protagonists before undergoing a Big Bad Slippage over the film, while Adam is portrayed as Evil All Along.
      • Nancy is depicted as a tragic Anti-Villain with a Freudian Excuse for her eventual villainy (being bullied and ostracized, growing up impoverished and abused etc), craving power because she's been disempowered all her life. Adam as far as we can tell is just a jerkass misogynist who wants power for its own sake.
    • As for the secondary antagonist, Timmy is set up to be a follow up to Chris Hooker in the original film, being a bully character and Jerk Jock whom antagonizes the lead, and both fall under the influence of a spell cast by the main characters. There are some pretty noticeable differences.
      • When Chris is under a Love Spell, he seems to have taken a level in kindness around Sarah, but the spell takes a turn for the worse when Chris starts stalking and attempts to rape Sarah. Timmy, by contrast, falls under a spell that has him show his sensitive side and he starts to become a better person because of it.
      • Chris is portrayed as mostly hostile to the four witches, with exception of Sarah while under he spell. Timmy on the other hand, starts to genuinely befriend them, and even opens up about some personal issues he has.
      • Chris' death was a point of contention among the coven; despite him being an Asshole Victim, Sarah regrets what happened to him to bind Nancy from harming others over it. Timmy's death is treated more as a genuine tragedy, that all the coven all feel guilty over, and try to bind themselves from using magic over it.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • Lily hears disturbing noises and investigates, walking in on her stepbrother masturbating while watching a movie.
    • Lily briefly masturbates while casting a love spell on Timmy. She's nearly Caught with Your Pants Down.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Manon, a nature deity worshipped by some witches, had a pretty prominent role in the first film, but here he's only mentioned once and has no relevance to the story.
    • Nancy from the first film only makes a cameo at the end.
  • Distant Sequel: The film takes place over twenty years after the events of the original and focuses on a new set of characters.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The revelation that Adam wants his stepdaughter Lily's powers and may have courted her mother for this purpose brings to mind predators who intentionally date single parents in order to prey on their children.
  • Easy Evangelism: Lily is quick to embrace witchcraft and join the coven when the others explain to her they can do real magic.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The four witches really have a thing for sparkles, even using magic to give themselves extra sparkly makeup.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The movie leans heavily into this, even having the main villain be the embodiment of toxic masculinity, while the girls are very much about women's power.
  • Gay Guy Dies First: Timmy, who is revealed to be bisexual, is the first major character to be killed off. In fact, he's the only heroic character who dies.
  • Gayngst: It's indicated that the reason Timmy bullies others is because he's bisexual and feels insecure about it. He even seems to commit suicide over this, although it's later revealed he was murdered.
  • Geas: Lily is bound (i.e. prevented from using magic) by the other girls due to believing that her love spell caused Timmy's (seeming) suicide. They reverse it after learning she's in danger from Adam (who actually murdered Timmy). Additionally, they discuss doing it to themselves in remorse over earlier brainwashing him with another spell.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with. Lily ends up with a few similarities to her birth mother Nancy; they both had creepy and abusive stepfathers whom they eventually killed in self-defense, were both bullied at school and both practice witchcraft. Unlike her birth mother though, Lily is far more well-adjusted and moral than Nancy was at her age, and she's the one who is briefly ostracized from the coven after abusing her power. Interestingly, the elements they're associated with are opposing; Nancy is associated with fire while Lily is associated with water.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Frankie's use of "motherfricking" to keep the PG-13 rating.
  • Heel Realization: Near the end, Frankie, Lourdes and Tabby realize how their spell brainwashing Timmy wasn't that much different from what they bound Lily for.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Timmy with Lily. Based on the actors' heights, Timmy's six feet tall while Lily isn't even five feet tall; when they kiss Timmy has to lean over while Lily cranes her neck so their faces line-up.
  • Kill It with Fire: In the climax the girls defeat Adam by magically burning him alive.
  • Killed Offscreen: Timmy. We never get any details; a teacher simply informs the class and the audience that Timmy died by apparent suicide.
  • Lighter and Softer: This film tones down the horror elements present in the original film, instead being more of a straight-up fantasy story that dabbles in horror in the third act. It also lacks some of the grimmer moments from the original such as depictions of attempted rape and attempted suicide, nor does it have the plot development of the protagonist being turned on and terrorized by her own friends.
  • Love Potion: Not a potion per se, but Lily casts a love spell on Timmy, wishing for him to be closer to her (while masturbating with his sweatshirt). It seems to work because Timmy quickly arrives in her room and kisses her...but the next day Timmy seemingly commits suicide. Lily wonders if the spell had anything to do with it and the other girls call out Lily for her actions, though given the revelation Timmy was murdered, it's unclear if there were any side effects.
  • Meaningful Name: Multiple characters have biblical names. Lily's full name is revealed to be Lilith. In Judaism, Lilith is a demonic figure who was Adam's first wife until she rebelled against him for refusing to be subservient; she's often associated with sorcery and vampirism, and may originate from ancient Mesopotamian religions. It's an early hint that Lily is the daughter of Nancy and foreshadows the antagonistic relationship between Lily and her stepfather, also called Adam. Additionally, Adam's three sons are named Abraham, Isaiah, and Jacob.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: The trailer features a slower, more somber cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".
  • More Diverse Sequel: The four witches in the original film consisted of three white girls and a black girl. The witches here consist of two white girls, a black girl and a Latina girl (in the last case, she's also transgender, like the actress).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The coven is devastated to learn of Timmy's suicide because they believe that using a spell on him to make him nicer made him confront things he didn't want to confront. Lily, however, gets hit the hardest with this because she believes her second spell on him was what resulted in him committing suicide. Towards the end of the film, however, it's revealed that Timmy hadn't actually committed suicide; he was murdered by Adam.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer suggests the film is going to be a dark supernatural horror/drama story in the same vein as the original film, and that the girls - in particular Lily - may end up misusing their powers and/or getting in over their heads. The film itself is very light on horror, to the point it's more of a high school dramedy blended with fantasy. None of the girls are presented as doing anything dark or immoral with their powers either; Lily is called out for casting a love spell on Timmy, who subsequently commits suicide, but she never becomes a truly dark person and it's revealed his death is unrelated to her spell.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The four witches cast a spell on the bully Timmy to make him kinder and more sensitive, but it seemingly leads to him committing suicide due to bringing up deeply personal issues and insecurities, such as his bisexuality. They feel immensely guilty, to the point that Lourdes, Frankie and Tabby try to bind their powers to avoid causing more harm. It's then subverted, as it turns out Adam killed Timmy and the girls had nothing to do with his death, although the temporary binding does leave Lily vulnerable to Adam without her powers until they undo the spell.
  • Ouija Board: Frankie, Tabby and Lourdes use one late in the story and are contacted by Timmy's spirit, who warns them Adam murdered him and he's after Lily.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: In the third act, the coven has a falling out with Lily after Timmy seemingly commits suicide and a grief-stricken Lily confesses it might be because of a love spell she cast on him. The other girls condemn her for this and say they need time apart. Luckily for Lily, after she's abducted by Adam - who the coven learns actually murdered Timmy - the girls pull a Big Damn Heroes and come to her aid.
  • The Power of Friendship: Only by working together can the coven defeat Adam; when they try to act against him alone he easily repels them.
  • The Reveal:
    • Lily was adopted and is Nancy's daughter, with the implication that she inherited her powers from her.
    • Adam is a warlock and was actually responsible for Timmy's death.
  • Shout-Out: A teenage girl raised by a single mother is mocked at school for getting her period, then discovers she has powers, including telekinesis. Luckily, Lily has a much better time of it than Carrie White (such as having a loving mother, supportive friends etc).
  • Sleepwalking: Lily's eldest stepbrother Isaiah is revealed to be a sleepwalker, when he startles her by sleepwalking into her room one night.
  • Soft Reboot: For the most part the film's plot is similar to the 1996 film, though with four new witches and an updated setting to 2020, although the third act goes in a different direction and the final scene in particular confirms it's a sequel by bringing back Nancy Downs.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In the third act, Lily realizes that her 'mother' isn't really her mother when she states her difference makes her dangerous, because her mother would never say that (Helen had in fact told Lily earlier that her difference is her power).
  • Time Stands Still: One of the first spells the girls try as a complete coven is freezing time and they're elated when they manage it for just a few seconds. They try it again in the cafeteria and manage to maintain it for longer. In the climax they use it to save Lily from Adam, giving them a chance to unbind her powers until Adam breaks the spell.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Along with a black girl (like the original film had), this one adds the Latina Lourdes, who's also a trans girl.
  • Wham Shot: In the ending, Lily goes to meet her birth mother at a psychiatric hospital; her mother turns around to reveal she's Nancy Downs, played by Fairuza Balk herself.

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