Review: The Craft (1996)

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“True magic is neither black, nor white – it’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time. The only good or bad is in the heart of the witch. Life keeps a balance on its own.”
– Lirio

SYNOPSIS: Four girls at a Los Angeles Catholic school form a coven of witches that cast spells on their classmates and each other. Their new powers overwhelm them, leading to an internal power struggle. – via IMDB

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I watched this movie so many times as a kid. So many damn times. I liked the fact that these girls were different (not to mention witches) and not afraid to embrace that. That’s always something I enjoy, when women do not conform to the expectations of society. The Craft is a good film. It starts out all innocent and sweet, and then devolves into utter madness.

I thought the actresses picked to play the witches were all great, and all brought something else to the table. These are just young girls with small things that irk them, that come together because they are different, they believe they are powerful. Initially they ask for little things, each having their own small issues. This is where some big lessons come in. They say you can’t always get what you want, and be careful what you wish for. You hear it all the time. This movie shows how seemingly innocent things can be turned on their heads.

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The constantly shifting dynamics between the girls is also something that is fascinating. Innocent, then friends, then obsessed and changing, afraid of Nancy, yet power hungry and feeling superior to the rest. Then there is Sarah, a witch and girl questioning her group, not wanting to conform to the inevitable peer pressure. That does not stop the magic the girls try out from just getting bigger and more crazy, and does not change the fact that these girls can be right bitches.

Seeing how the magic doesn’t quite work as one would hope, and how it can sour terribly was interesting. It takes a different spin on it than a lot of movies handling magic and witches usually do.
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Review: Scream (1996)

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scream movie poster

SYNOPSIS: A group of teens are pitted against a masked murderer that tests their knowledge of horror movies. – via IMDB

Originally I had these lined up for a JB & The Chop collaboration, but extenuating circumstances meant that the outing would have to be cancelled. These have long been lined up for publication for the next few Fridays, and I was quite sad to see of Wes Craven’s passing on Sunday. What a pity, and the man gave us a lot of great horrors, slashers, and thrillers over the years. There would never be a more perfect time to line these up, and so they have become tribute posts.

Popping this in, as much as my other half was calling out how lame this was and how cheesy  and stupid, I have to admit that I had a total blast. Why? Not only because I grew up watching this, but as I got older, I could finally appreciate some specific aspects of these movies. When I was a kid, it was just about some weird mask and terrorizing teenagers and being different from other horror movies yet completely the same. I am older now, wiser. What this movie is, is actually a stroke of genius. Why? Because it mocks on horror movies, does its thing, conforms and teases and jokes.

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In a quick way, it is fresh. Different. Goodness knows it has been ripped off from here to Kingdom Come, and it has endured a lot of mockery and cheese on its own, but when you get right down to it, Scream still holds up well after all this time. In fact, it holds up brilliantly. I swear I damn near wore the VHS out when I was a kid, I watched this movie so many times, checked it out of the video store a ton more.

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The opening scene for this movie is infamous. We all know it. Or, if you don’t, I am not quite sure where you have been. A creepy, weird phone call to Drew Barrymore? Check. A strange conversation that starts as funny and goes sour, quickly? Check. The popcorn on the stove that she is prepping for a movie that is our timer? Check. A superbly grisly death by the end of all the taunting and the crazy chase? Check.  Totally just one of those movies that was going to nail all the things I love in a film, and handles the delicate balance so well. This movie could have bombed, but it didn’t because there is a certain finesse behind it that just makes it all come together wonderfully.

Scream is so nineties, there is no way to get around that, but on the other hand, that just gives rise to all the nostalgia I feel when I watch that. Not because the nineties were anything to write home about or anything, but that was my decade, rugrat that I was and all.

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Scream is smarter than it is given credit for, and is constantly aware of what it is and how it is going about doing it. I find that awesome. It doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get boring, and it isn’t stale. It has an idea, and it runs with it, and is highly successful about it, too.

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I was a big fan of the Freddy Krueger nod that was in here, as well as the way it was implemented. I had a pretty good laugh, especially seeing as it was Wes Craven in that outfit 🙂

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While looking for the above, I found this… LOL!

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Anyway, I also really liked the casting. I mean, half these people you don’t see in movies anymore, though they were pretty popular in the nineties. They all did a good job with what they were given.

They made me laugh, they made me roll my eyes and cringe, but they also had me invested in what was going to happen and how things were going to play out.

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I feel for Skeet Ulrich – gosh, imagine getting a name like that as a kid and going through school?! I just couldn’t! Anyway, he was a cutie in a real fucked up, greasy sense, but it worked. Campbell was suited for the scared young girl with issues, David Arquette is a serious favourite of mine as the adorable Deputy Dewey, and Courteney Cox was perfect for the bitchy, sharky reporter. Seriously, like no qualms.

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The movie is quotable, too, and played off on a lot of movie clichés that had been seen a million times then, and have been seen a million more since. However, they all just seemed to be done so differently here, which is awesome.

I know he is doing only the most fucked up shit here, but he is damn fine while doing it :/ There’s something just slightly too erotic about the corn syrup licking and knife flicking…

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I know I am not alone in my sentiments. I think. I hope. I actually don’t even care. Yep bestie, me and the psychos again…

If you can’t tell from all the points above, I am a huge fan of Scream, it’s smart, it’s great fun and definitely worth watching! Thanks to Wes Craven for having given us something so awesome!