For the past few decades, clique films have proved to be massive hits, especially ones with high school girls as the main attraction. From “Heathers” to “Mean Girls,” their clever jokes and edgy storylines have cemented them as iconic movies. However, there is a lesser known clique film that has a dark side. 1996’s “The Craft” successfully blends witchcraft and high school gossip.
The film starts off with Sarah (Robin Tunney) becoming the new girl at a Catholic high school. She starts off quiet and witty, but soon becomes involved with a group of three girls in goth-style clothing. Unlike the Heathers and Plastics however, these girls are feared and considered outcasts rather than popular and admired. They’re even rumored to be witches. Sarah finds herself fascinated by the girls as they help her understand her own powers through witchcraft. It turns out that the three girls are in fact witches and also hold powers like Sarah. With Sarah on board, the coven is officially complete.
Things get complicated after Sarah goes on a date with Chris, a popular boy at school, who then spreads a rumor about her and dumps her in front of her friends. Hurt, Sarah and the girls (who have also been hurt by people in their lives) come together to use their powers for revenge. Initially, they each get what they want from their powers. But soon their plan begins to backfire and the friendship between the girls becomes strained.
The “Craft” is a twisted teen flick. Its style is similar to other ’90s horror films such as “Scream” and “Interview with the Vampire.” If the opening ritual is not enough, tarot cards and visions of nature will explode at you throughout the film. A few parts of the film are underdeveloped. While the backstories of each of the girls are intriguing, the film seems to only scratch the surface of them. There’s also a few unanswered questions throughout the film and characters that either eventually fade or don’t truly emerge until the end. Additionally, the ending can easily leave you cringing.
Nevertheless, if you’re interested in giving a different kind of teen and/or clique flick a go, then this is the movie to watch.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.