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Film / The Craft: Legacy

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The Craft: Legacy is 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.


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.)
  • 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.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Adam has these when he's first revealed to be a warlock.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: The main antagonist is revealed to be Adam, an Evil Sorcerer who wants to steal Lily's powers for himself.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Timmy becomes friends with the coven after they use magic to make him kinder, even opening up to them about being bisexual and sleeping with Isaiah.
  • 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.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The color of each witch's aura corresponds to the element she's associated with: Lourdes has green for earth, Tabby has red for fire, Frankie has yellow for air and Lily has blue for water.
  • 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Lily bears some similarities to Sarah, in particular both of them being natural witches, but also a few differences:
    • Lily's relationship with her coven is more positive as they remain friends throughout the entire story, while Sarah's coven turn on her after they are corrupted by their powers.
    • Lily lives with her mother and apparently has no father, while Sarah's mother died in childbirth and she lives with her father and stepmother.
    • Lily has an increasingly ambivalent relationship with her stepfather, while Sarah seems to have a positive relationship with her stepmother.
    • Sarah and Lily never knew their birth mothers, from whom they inherited their powers, albeit for different reasons; Sarah's mother died giving birth to her while Lily was adopted as an infant.
  • 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.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lily says she's never once met her father, nor even knows his name. Upon learning she's adopted, we see that section of the adoption certificate is left blank.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Flat Character: Everyone but Lily. She's the only main character who gets any significant character development and story arc, while the other girls only have a few traits to distinguish them as individuals with little in the way of personal arcs or backstories.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: Each girl is represented by a different element, corresponding to one of the four 'corners' used in spellcasting: Lourdes is Earth, Lily is Water, Tabby is Fire and Frankie is Air.
  • Friendless Background: Lily states early on that she didn't have any friends at her last school. Given Helen's comments about there being "d-bags at every school" it's implied Lily was bullied, though it's not elaborated upon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Genre Shift: The original was a fantasy horror, while the sequel slips fully into Feminist Fantasy with far fewer horror elements.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Frankie's use of "motherfricking" to keep the PG-13 rating.
  • Hate Sink: Adam Harrison seems to be a stern but understanding stepfather to Lily, but slowly shows himself to be a controlling leader of a patriarchal cult, and a practicing warlock trying to prey on Lily's power. When he reveals this, he goes on a rant about how women should know their place, and that he murdered Timmy for being a "weak" man when he started showing his sensitive side; its also implied that he killed him due to Timmy's bisexuality and knew that Timmy slept with his son.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Timmy goes from a bullying and sexist jerk to a very, nice woke guy who befriends the girls after they cast a spell on him to change his personality.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass:
    • Timmy is a sexist bully who very publicly mocks Lily for having started her period in class. Lourdes says he's "made all of us cry at some point". However, after the girls cast a spell on him he becomes a more thoughtful and mellow person, even befriending the girls.
    • Adam is gradually revealed to be a sexist Control Freak who even thinks a teenage boy who committed suicide was "weak". The third act then reveals he's even worse than what we've seen so far.
  • 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.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • Lily is shown early on to have the power of telekinesis, using her powers to fling a bully against some lockers.
    • Frankie uses telekinesis to smack a mean girl's head back against a wall after she insults her looks.
  • Missing Mom: The mother of Adam's sons seems to have died in the past since he raised them alone.
  • 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 Suicide: Timmy's death is ruled a suicide, but it's revealed he was actually 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.
  • Nice Mean And Inbetween: Lily's stepbrothers. Abe is Nice (he's the most friendly and welcoming towards Lily), Isaiah is Mean (he tends to be rude and sullen) and Jacob is Inbetween (he's mostly indifferent towards Lily; he isn't unkind to her but doesn't go out of his way to befriend or include her).
  • No Bisexuals: Timmy briefly mentions this idea while coming out to the girls as bisexual, saying if people know a guy has slept with another guy they just say he's gay, but this isn't the case for everyone.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted when Lily gets her period in class and is roundly mocked for it by other students.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Lily discovers she was adopted by Helen as a baby, which Helen apparently never intended to tell her; Lily finds out accidentally when she uncovers her adoption documents. In fairness, Lily looks as though she could be related to Helen and never had any other obvious reason to suspect she was adopted.
  • 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.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Type 3. The main source of drama for Lily is that she's just moved in with her mother's boyfriend Adam, who Lily barely knows. She tries to get along with him because her mother really wants to make things work, despite some glaring red flags. It's eventually revealed Adam is a warlock who wants to steal Lily's powers.
  • Playing with Fire: Tabby has the power of pyrokinesis, which typically manifests as her producing a flame from her finger, like a lighter or blowtorch.
  • 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.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Frankie serves as this, spending a lot of her screentime energetically making jokes and quips, and engaging in other amusing antics.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Adam is the embodiment of toxic masculinity; he blatantly looks down on women, (especially women with power), despises men who are 'weak' (when they're just being compassionate and respectful of women) and strongly advocates returning to the 'good ol' days' of patriarchy. Given his eldest son feels the need to hide a sexual encounter with another boy, it's also likely he's homophobic too.
  • 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.
  • Satellite Character: Tabby, Frankie and Lourdes increasingly end up as this to Lily. We don't find out much, if anything, about their backgrounds and lives outside of their friendship with Lily, and most of their screentime serves to advance Lily's character and story arc in some way (such as introducing her to witchcraft, helping her cast spells, hanging around with her, causing her angst via a Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure, and turning up in the climax to help her fight the baddie).
  • 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).
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Lily develops a big crush on Timmy after she and her coven cast a spell on him that makes more sensitive and socially aware, including standing up to students who make sexist or otherwise offensive comments; even Frankie expresses that "woke Timmy" is hot.
  • Sleepwalking: Lily's eldest stepbrother Isaiah is revealed to be a sleepwalker, when he startles her by sleepwalking into her room one night.
  • The Social Darwinist: Adam advocates destroying the weakest so the strongest will thrive to his group.
  • 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).
  • Spin-Offspring: Lily is revealed to be the daughter of Nancy, one of the main protagonists-turned-main antagonist of the first movie.
  • Take That!: Lily's stepfather says that 'women with power will eventually turn on each other', referring to the plot of the original.
  • 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.
  • Transgender: Lourdes is introduced as a trans woman. The others tread careful around the subject of having babies and periods since she can't experience either, but she's rather non-dysphoric about it. As she says "Trans girls have their own magic."
  • Trauma Conga Line: Lily gets one in the third act. First the boy she has a crush on commits suicide out of nowhere and she thinks it was her fault because of a love spell she cast; when she confesses this to her friends they ostracize her. Then on the day of said boy's funeral she discovers she was adopted. And then later that same day she finds out her stepdad is a warlock who kidnaps her and tries to threaten her into giving him her powers; he also reveals he murdered her crush and made it look like suicide.
  • 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.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Adam uses this ability to take Helen's form, in an attempt to persuade Lily to give her powers to him. Lily is initially fooled, but then realizes that Helen is acting Out of Character.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There’s no indication of what happens with Adam’s sons now that he’s dead and Lily and Helen are most likely moving out of their house.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tabby, Lourdes, and Frankie pull this on Lily when they learn she conjured a second spell on Timmy without their knowledge, believing this is what caused his suicide. This leads to a brief falling-out between them and Lily.
  • Wicked Stepfather: Lily's new stepfather Adam is hinted throughout the film to be controlling and misogynistic, though it's initially kept subtle. In the third act he's revealed to be the main villain.


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