Tag Archives: Neve Campbell

The Craft

Confession: I had never seen this movie before tonight. Sean thinks this is shocking, like I had somehow missed out on some pivotal 90s moment and I’m not a fully formed human adult because of it. I think it’s more shocking that he DID see it, considering that in 1996, he was not a teenage girl.

The Craft in question is witchcraft. Like many young girls before them, social outcasts Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True) are tempted by the dark arts. It’s a phase that attracts many teenage girls; witchcraft offers a sense of control over your own life that a lot of girls are seeking, a feeling of empowerment and self-actualization that is often denied them. Nancy is oppressed by a cruel step father, Bonnie is covered in scars, and Rochelle is bullied by a swim team-mate. They all wish things could be different, but nothing changes until their coven finds the all-important fourth, new girl Sarah (Robin Tunney), who completes their circle and actually summons some power.

Being teenage girls, they exact revenge on those who have wronged them, but that first taste of power goes to their pointy-hatted heads and things get out of hand.

I always imagined that this was a scary movie and it’s really not, which I should have guessed because my imagination is nearly always much worse than reality (last week I had a dream that I was being chased by a serial killer and it wasn’t a nightmare – what is wrong with me???). But I don’t regret missing out because I really wasn’t. Turns out, this is kind of a crappy movie. I did not need it in my life and chances are you don’t need it in yours. If you’ve seen it – heck, even if you loved it – that’s cool, I get it. Sometimes a movie is just exactly what we needed at that time. It’s not likely to win over any new fans, but that’s okay because *dramatic drumming of the cauldron, please*: there’s a sequel!

Yes, it’s 24 years later, but that’s what we do now. We drop in on movie characters a generation later just to see what’s shaking. We recently got reacquainted with Bill and Ted 29 years after their Bogus Journey. Heck, we recently revisited Mary Poppins 54 years after we first made her acquaintance. Except this time we’re not catching up with old friends so much as making new ones. The Craft: Legacy takes place 20 years after the first one, with all new teenage girls forming a coven, one or some of whom are tangentially related (via photograph anyway) to Nancy (Balk) of the first film. It’s a loose sequel, let’s say, but you don’t have long to wait: you can stream it October 28th.

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It’s no Die Hard.

That’s my four-word review of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s latest action film, in which he plays an ex-FBI agent turned security consultant who has to rescue his family from the world’s tallest building when it’s set on fire by robbers.

The fact it’s no Die Hard is not entirely a bad thing, because at least it isn’t a blatant rip-off of one of the best action movies ever. But it’s partly a bad thing, because Die Hard is amazing and Skyscraper clearly wants to remind me of it (Skyscraper may also be trying to remind me of other movies like The Towering Inferno if I’d ever seen it, but since I haven’t, you get to hear only about Die Hard).

Skyscraper falls well short of Die Hard for a lot of reasons, but the main difference is this: while both movies are ridiculous, Die Hard fully embraces its implausibility. Bruce Willis is right there with us when we’re thinking that it should never have come to him jumping off a hundred story building with a fire hose tied around his waist. Conversely, the Rock is not with us at those moments, because he’s The Rock, a character that can do anything. When the Rock pulls a very similar stunt to Willis, as far as the Rock is concerned, it is not because things have escalated beyond the point of believability.  It is because that is one of the things the Rock can do that no one else would even try (and, incidentally, whether one is brave enough to attempt a stunt like that is not a measure of one’s love for family, because if you really want to save your family, you have to NOT DIE, and by my count any real human being died about eight different times during the Rock’s rescue effort).

As well, it is an unfortunate sign of our times that the two-minute rope sequence, like almost every other dramatic moment in this movie, somehow is captured live on news cameras, for the benefit of a cheering and live-streaming crowd, and also on monitors throughout the very building that the Rock is trying to sneak into and rescue his family from. This not only adds about 15 minutes of pointless  crowd footage to a movie that feels much, much longer than its 1 hour 49 minute run time, but it also takes away from the cat-and-mouse dynamic because at all times the bad guys can easily find the Rock in this massive 220 story building by watching 30 seconds of live news.

Even then, I was tolerating this movie and willing to give it a pass until the end, when everyone involved had run out of half-baked ideas and just hit the reset button to find a way out of the fire. I shouldn’t have expected any more than that, so don’t ask me why I got my hopes up, and now I owe an apology to Ant-Man and the Wasp.


Twenty four years ago, Drew Barrymore in a blonde wig lured people into theatres where Wes Craven was reinventing the slasher flick, and his career, with a little help from a fresh spin on the genre from Kevin Williamson’s script.

A year after her mother’s death, Sydney (Neve Campbell) and her friends are targeted by a serial in a white mask (“Ghostface”) who taunts them with horror movie trivia. The movie was meta and self-referential, it launched a franchise and reinvigorated a flagging genre. In many ways, Scream has influenced much of modern horror. It walked a thin line between satire and homage, carefully peeling back the layers of our expectations while forging new ones, yet still managing its own frights and thrills at the same time.

Craven assembled the ultimate 90s cast: Campbell, Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, some of whom actually spanned the entire four movie franchise. Sydney (Campbell) was hypocritical, Gail (Cox) the most unobservant journalist known to history, and Dewey (Arquette) a remarkably inept deputy, yet somehow they managed to evade even the most determined killers.

Scream broke the fourth wall by naming the standard horror film rules, yet played at subverting them with each new twist: 1. You will not survive if you have sex 2. You will not survive if you drink or do drugs 3. You will not survive if you say “I’ll be right back” 4. Everyone is a suspect 5. You will not survive if you ask “Who’s there?” 6. You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise.

The 5th installment of the franchise is due in theatres (if such a thing still exists) in early 2022. This will be the first without Wes Craven at the helm, but new directors Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) seem intent on honouring his legacy, although, to be fair, rarely does anyone intend to make a disappointing movie that fucks up an entire franchise. But sometimes that happens anyway. And we’re in a very different place with horror than we were in 1996; Jordan Peele (Get Out), Robert Eggers (The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and Ari Aster (Midsommar) are making arthouse horror and elevating the game. Of course, Radio Silence are the duo behind Ready Or Not, which would seem to suggest they’re up to the task.