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May 08, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-08

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10- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, May 8, 1996
Teens conjure angst in 'The Cn

''4' m ~~777

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Writer
Adolescence. In the movies, at least,
it tends to bring out the manipulative
and destructive urges in people. With
"The Craft," you get both for the price
of one. Like a supernatural "Heathers"
or a "Clueless" from hell, "The Craft"'s
teenage angst not only has a body count
and cool clothes, but heaping helpings
of witchcraft thrown in for good mea-
sure - all of which makes for an enter-
gining if not spell-binding film.

The Craft
WihFara alkRobin Tnney,
Neve Campbell and Rachel True
Sarah (Robin Tunney) appears to be
the typical new girl when she arrives at
Los Angeles' St. Benedict's High: she's
pretty, shy and naive about the school's
social laws. It's her uncanny ability to
stand pencils on their pointed ends that

draws the attention of Bonnie (Neve
Campbell), Rochelle (Rachel True) and
Nancy (Fairuza Balk), a trio of misfits
not-so-affectionately called "The Bitches
of Eastwick." They're a would-be coven
that spends most of its time stealing from
the local new-age occult store and needs
a fourth to round out its circle.
When Sarah reluctantly joins, they
conjure to cure what ails each of them:
Sarah wants the insensitive but popular
captain of the football team, Chris, to
like her; Bonnie wants the burns and
scars on her back to disappear; Rochelle
wants revenge against the racist cheer-
leader, Laura Lizzie; and Nancy - you
can't quite tell exactly what Nancy
wants, but it seems that nothing less than
all-encompassing power will do for her.
The spells work, though not necessar-
ily in the ways expected. Chris changes
into a mindlessly devoted love slave;
Bonnie becomes a fashion plate; Laura
Lizzie loses all her hair. Nancy's trailer-
trash wife-beater of a dad keels over,
leaving her and her mother $175,000 in
insurance money - which might get
them a bigger trailer in real life, but
since this is a movie, it buys them a fab-
ulous new house and a jukebox that
plays only Connie Francis ballads. For
now, the coven's revenge is sweet.
Of course, it all has to go terribly
awry, in order to teach the audience that
It's Bad to Tamper with the Natural
Order of Things, So Don't Try This At
Home. Things get bad right on schedule
when Chris, in a fit of unrequited pas-
sion, tries to rape Sarah. Nancy, ostensi-
bly doing a favor for Sarah, goes to a

Robin Tunney, as Sarah, deals with advances from an anxious reptile in "The Craft."

party Chris is at and magically disguises
herself as Sarah. Nancy and Chris start
to make out and then the real Sarah
catches them; Nancy throws a fit, and
defenestrates him.
Not surprisingly, this puts a damper
on the girls' friendship. Sarah wants out
of the coven, mostly to escape the
increasing weirdness and thirst for social
and supernatural power Nancy exudes.
The film ends with a showdown
between the two, involving lots of creepy
crawly bugs, snakes and rats, broken
mirrors and telekinetically-hurled furni-
ture. Nancy ends up in the funny farm,
convinced she can fly, while Sarah ends
up the only member of the coven to
retain her supernatural gifts.
While the acting is more than compe-
tent - Fairuza Balk does her usual great
job of portraying a psychotic anti-hero-
ine, and Robin Tunney emerges as an
enjoyable screen presence - the movie

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11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
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and S. University 4
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tries to be too many things at once. It
veers from a female bonding movie
(when the coven does fun stuff like levi-
tating each other and magically changin
hair color) to a black comedy (when thb
coven first starts exacting its revenge) to
a thriller (when the coven turns in on
itself and goes for the kill), all of which
gives the film a disjointed feel and a
somewhat lagged pace. None of the
characters but Sarah are fully developed,
especially Bonnie and Rochelle, who
not-so-magically evaporate once Sarah
and Nancy start being witchy to each
other. Also, "The Craft"'s with-it soun9
track - which features Matthew Sweet,
Elastica and Love Spit Love - is too
prominent in the actual movie, giving it
too much of an MTV kind of atmos-
phere: "The Real World 666 - Salem."
On the other hand, "The Craft" does
include some genuinely funny
moments, mostly from Chris and his
goofy friends. Even though the message
of the movie is that revenge is usually
bad, it's nevertheless entertaining to see
the jerks get their just desserts. So evei
though it's not magically delicious,
"The Craft" provides some mindless
fun with its blue smoke and mirrors.
Summer Help
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and energetic people to j
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We offer a starting rate of
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week is Monday thru Friday,
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required. Position is available
for entire summer.
Please apply in person
between 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. I
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Ypsilanti, Ml 48197

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