The Craft (Blu-ray) (1996)
R Dir: Andrew Fleming | Sony | 101 min.

Review By: Matt Brighton | January 28th, 2012

Plot: What’s it about?

It seems that movies about witches have always seemed to feature some unattractive woman who has a giant wart on her nose, rides a broom and squeals “I’ll get you my pretty…and your little dog too”. Now, obviously that’s from The Wizard of Oz, and it’s not about witches…well sort of. That one image, that one sentence did develop some sort of stereotype for all the witches to follow (in the movies, that is). Of course, witchcraft dates back several thousand years, and became “most popular” a few hundred years back in Salem, Massachusetts…and we all know what happened there. But lately, with releases like “Matilda”, “Practical Magic” and “Hocus Pocus” “The Craft”, as it’s known, has had a bit of a lighter side to it. In this movie entitled by the same name, we meet four ordinary girls who have already embraced their spiratuality. They consider themselves witches, but have yet to compelete their “inner circle”. Somewhat of social outcasts, they seclude themselves to corners and hanging out by themselves, only to still get mocked by the cheerleaders and football players.

It’s not until Sarah (Robin Tunney who’s found new fame in TV’s “The Mentalist”) moves to town and starts going to school that things start to happen. Sarah, whose mother died while giving birth to her, has had a troubled life. She has a caring father, loving step mother, but is obviously upset and depressed. After an attempted suicide, which has occured in the past, the family feels it necessary to relocate from San Fransisco to the Los Angeles suburbs. Sarah, an attractive girl, seems to fit in nicely, but can’t really seem to find her niche. After a failed date with Chris (Skeet Ulrich) who tells lies about their date, she meets the other three witches of the school. Sarah has never really conisdered herself a witch, but has always had inclinations towards the supernatural. She admits that if she had really wanted it to rain, the water pipe would burst, or if she wanted people to shut up, she would go deaf for a few days…not exactly your average teenager. Knowing instantly that they have their fourth (and compete) part of the puzzle completed, the girls start casting spells on others. The spells seem innocent enough, but they soon learn that a spell cast has the results thrown back at them three fold. Hence, a spell cast to make Chris like Sarah, turns Chris into an obsessive, love-driven machine. All seems to be going well at first, the girls have more self confidence and don’t feel like the recluses they once did. Bonnie (Neve Campbell), who was scarred by fire as a child, has had to keep herself covered up for fear of ridicule. Rochelle (Rachel True), has had to endure constant criticism from the blonde-haired cheerleaders at diving practice and now it’s time that the foursome can have their revenge.

But, as they learn, what goes around…comes around. The foursome start to disagree on certain things; and at Sarah’s suggestion, the group is not that anymore. The supposed “leader” of the group, Nancy (Fairuza Balk) is obviously of the darker nature. Having been born for this part, she is great in her role here. It’s Nancy’s constant overzealous behavior that scares Sarah out of the group. As things have finally started to go their way, it’s almost over in a blink of the eye as things happen to Chris and others that spells were cast upon. Sarah, doing what she believes is the right thing, goes her seperate way and all of the sudden it’s her against the other three. To tell anymore would be to give away the ending, and I don’t want to do that. I will say that “The Craft” is a lot better than I expected, hence it’s suprise success in early 1996. An interesting plot, great cast and great special effects make “The Craft” one you should pick up.

Video: How does it look?

“The Craft” makes its debut on Blu-ray sporting a fine-looking AVC HD transfer. I watched my old DVD of this not too long ago and was still fairly pleased at how it looked. Yes, I’ve been spoiled by the onslaught of HD titles so I was excited to see how this measured up. As it turns out “The Craft” actually looks pretty darn good on Blu-ray. Colors are bright, bold and strong with only the slightest hint of artifacting. Despite its namesake, “The Craft” isn’t exactly the darkest of films in regards to tone. Several shots take place during the day while the majority are indoors or at night (the occult, you know). Flesh tones seem warm and natural as well. For a movie approaching its 15th anniversary, I was pleased at how well this has held up.

Audio: How does it sound?

A DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is present, a step up from the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack found on the standard DVD. Every scene in which they “invoke the spirit” has awesome sound. It’s a very 360 degree effect that really carries around the room, therefore making it all the more real. Basic effects like rain, wind and a soundtrack sound very good and clean. There was a slight issue with the dialogue from the standard DVD, but that seems to have been rectified (or maybe my thousands of dollars I have in my home theater have fixed that). Aside from that, the dialogue is clear and as mentioned before, the surround effects do a great job at bringing you into the movie. Overall, a good mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“The Craft” comes to Blu-ray with the most of the same features from the Special Edition DVD of years past (the isolated score and trailers were removed for whatever reason). We start off with the feature-length commentary with Director Andrew Fleming. Fleming has sort of a taste for the occult, as evidenced by some of his comments throughout the movie. His knowledge is fairly extensive, and I’m glad that a “believer” directed the movie, as opposed to someone trying to make a statement…or, heaven forbid, money! Also included are three deleted scenes with optional commentary by Fleming. While they are not that important to the movie, it’s nice to have the director’s thoughts on the matter, as I’m usually left saying to myself “…wonder why that was cut out?” Also included is a documentary for the film, entitled “Conjuring “The Craft” that sheds some light on the actors and why they were chosen, and some behind the scenes information never hurt anyone as well. Fans of this film won’t be treated to any new material, though the disc is BD Live enhancements but at the time of writing there’s nothing available, but if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure – look no further.

Disc Features
  • (1.85:1) Aspect Ratio
  • Video Codec: AVC
  • Audio: DTS HD Master
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy
  • 1 Disc Set
The Craft (Blu-ray)

3.5
Video
Audio
Extras