The plot points in question: Rochelle and Sarah’s incantations gone awry.
In The Craft, Rochelle casts a revenge spell on her school’s Klan Darling Barbie™ and then finds her going full Brundlefly in the shower. Sarah casts a love spell, gets sexually assaulted because of it, and then villainizes Nancy for ragdolling her would-be rapist out a third-story window.
The fault in both of these scenarios is how the movie doesn’t even have to think twice about sympathizing with its abusers. Broaching the topics of racism and misogyny in this little coven-fable that could was an unexpected victory for black and femme viewers, but one that The Craft almost immediately recants as it shifts its loyalty from the victims of institutionalized abuse to the abusers finally catching the hands due them. Instead of dragging these societal sepses into daylight, the movie’s message becomes the same status-quo shill that prefers its injustices unchallenged and its suffering done in silence.
“Racists are bad, but shutting racists down is worse.”
“When sexual assault happens, look at what the victim did to provoke it.”
Any opportunity for social commentary dissolves when it’s decided that the witches bear more guilt in their insurgence than Laura and Chris do in their respective racism and male entitlement. When holding problematic people accountable for their venom becomes less important than letting that venom continue to course.
And, of course, there’s a monumental difference between social justice and revenge, between reforming ingrained injustices and pushing people out of windows. But within the realm of fiction that is The Craft, that was an unnecessary and unhelpful line to draw. Because if we were already on board for a horror movie about women with vicious, omnipotent godhood hailing their bloodstreams electric, then something tells me it wouldn’t have been much of a hang-up to have those same women justified in what peals of anti-victimizer violence they’d wage. I mean, it sure went in for The VVitch.
Rodney Wilder is a biracial nerd who bellows death-metal verse in Throne of Awful Splendor and writes poetry, with previous work appearing in Poets Reading the News, FIYAH, HEArt Journal Online, ALTARWORK, Words Dance, FreezeRay, and others, as well as his newest, geek-themed collection, Stiltzkin’s Quill. He likes nachos, analogizing things to Pokémon, and getting lost in Oregonian forests with his co-meanderer, Brittany—the Sapphire to his Ruby.