The Craft was released in 1996, and while it received a mixed response from critics at the time, it has gone on to gain something of a cult following. The movie was a reasonably diverting mix of high-school/coming-of-age drama and horror, with some clever satirical undertones and a commendably nasty streak.
Writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones' revival/sequel takes a much lighter approach, which actually works in the movie's favor - until an ill-advised shift in tone results in a messy final act.
The familiar set-up sees new girl in town Hannah (Cailee Spaeny) move in with her mother's (Michelle Monaghan) boyfriend (David Duchovny) and his three sons. She is soon recruited by a trio of witches (Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna) who work from a book of spells called “The Craft,” but a rift in the coven begins to form when an attempt to make the class bully more "woke" has tragic consequences.
This is not a horror movie, and doesn't try to pass itself off as one. There are a handful of mildly creepy moments, but for the most part, Legacy is content to play things pretty safe as a fun teen drama with supernatural elements, and does so pretty successfully. The girls - a far more gregarious bunch than the original's vindictive leads - are all likable and easy to root for, and while it would have been nice if their individual characters were fleshed out a bit, the actors do a fine job with what they have to work with.
Spaeny, in particular, is terrific in the lead, and should have a very bright future ahead of her.
The gang has a ball testing out their new powers (think less black magic, more X-Men), and the story progresses in an entertaining, if unremarkable fashion... until the last half hour. Much of the negativity towards the trailer stemmed from fans complaining about the seemingly cheerier, more teen-oriented vibe, so it's somewhat ironic that Legacy only loses its way when things take a darker turn.
We won't go too far into spoiler territory here, but there is a last ditch attempt to inject more scares and a woefully misguided, forced connection to the first film which reeks of studio interference. Some of this could have worked if more time was taken to establish certain plot points, but it all feels far too rushed.
The Craft: Legacy won't do much to satiate scare-seekers this Halloween, but younger teens should find a lot to like, and it boasts some likeable characters and at least one star-making turn. It's not quite on par the original and the ending is all over the place, but it's still worth a watch if you're looking to kill an hour and half.