Blu-ray Review: The Craft (Collector’s Edition)
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The Craft
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Andrew Fleming
Screenwriter: Andrew Fleming, Peter Filardi
Cast: Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Breckin Meyer, Christine Taylor
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 101 Minutes
Release Date: March 12, 2019

“We are the weirdos, mister.”

Co-written and directed by Andrew Fleming (Bad Dreams), 1996’s The Craft centers on a coven of teenage outcasts at a Catholic high school who practice witchcraft, conjuring spells and curses against those who anger them.

Released on May 3, 1996, The Craft was a sleeper hit, opening at number one at the North American box office and earning an impressive $55 million with a budget of $15 million. In the years since its release, the movie has gained a cult following and has been seen as a rite of passage for those who respond to its themes of female empowerment, sisterhood, and outsiderdom.

Sarah (Robin Tunney) has just moved to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother. At her new school, the troubled teen forms a friendship with a group of girls considered outcasts and rumored to be witches. There’s Bonnie (Neve Campbell of Scream), whose body is covered in burn scars; “white trash” Nancy (Fairuza Balk of American History X), tormented by an abusive stepfather; and Rochelle Zimmerman (Rachel True of Half Baked), an African-American girl at a predominantly white prep school.

Together, Bonnie, Nancy, and Rochelle worship a powerful deity named “Manon” – the all-knowing and creator of the universe and the embodiment of nature. Sarah, meanwhile, discovers that she is a natural witch – her power comes from within. After exhibiting some supernatural abilities, the girls believe that Sarah will complete their coven, allowing them to invoke the spirit of Manon and become all-powerful.

Rochelle casts a revenge spell on racist bully Laura Lizzie (Christine Taylor). Sarah casts a love spell on Chris (Skeet Ulrich) after he spreads a rumor that they had sex. And Bonnie casts a beauty spell that erases the scars covering her body. Nancy, however, takes it too far when she asks for all the power of Manon. Wicca’s Rule of Three states that one’s actions return threefold, and now Nancy and the coven must suffer the consequences of abusing Manon’s gifts for their own gain.

Originally released on Blu-ray in 2009, The Craft returns to the high-definition format a decade later with a new Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory, including a 1080p high-definition transfer, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, and newly produced bonus materials. Surprisingly, it appears that the AVC encoded presentation (1.85:1 aspect ratio) is the same transfer from Sony’s 2009 release – if you’re expecting a significant upgrade in the visuals department, you may be disappointed.

The real reason to pick up this new release is the four new featurettes, including “Directing The Craft” with Andrew Fleming, “Producing The Craft” with Douglas Wick, “Writing The Craft” with co-writer Peter Filardi, and “Effecting The Craft” with makeup effects supervisor Tony Gardner. There’s also a previously released audio commentary with Flemming, vintage featurettes of the making of the film, and deleted scenes with optional commentary.

The Craft is one of the best horror films of the ’90s and a definitive witchcraft flick. For as long as there are sleepovers, it will be a staple of the teenage experience and as such, deserves an equally definitive home video release.

Unfortunately, despite some gorgeous cover art by artist Joel Robinson (Candyman, Serpent and the Rainbow, Silent Night, Deadly Night) and some insightful special features, Scream Factory’s latest release is somewhat underwhelming thanks to a transfer filled with muted colors, soft textures, and lots of grain.

Still, if you don’t own the previous release, Scream Factory’s new release is the way to go. Hopefully, a 2K or 4K transfer will restore The Craft to a level worthy of Manon’s powers, but until then, we’ll have to call the corners with this slightly above-average Collector’s Edition.

The Craft Collector’s Edition is now available at Amazon. For more reviews of Scream Factory releases, click here.


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