Stars: Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True. Written by Andrew Fleming & Peter Filardi. Directed by Andrew Fleming.

The Craft is a well-crafted but not terribly daring flick about four teenage witches who discover that they can control the most powerful force in the universe. The discovery comes after the original three (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True) are joined by the new girl in school (Robin Tunney), who turns out to be a natural, gifted witch. After playing with magic to invoke love spells, miraculous healing, and sweet revenge, they tap into a greater power and pretty much do as they please.

When the new girl realizes that the adage of power corrupts is coming true before her eyes, she rebels. This puts her in conflict with the others who want to continue using their newfound powers in dangerous and malicious ways. Eventually, a showdown takes place between the new girl and the strongest of the other three.

The Craft avoids linking witchcraft to Satan and/or the occult by claiming that magic is neither good nor bad, but how it is used can be. I found this justification, used to sweeten the film and broaden its appeal, to be a rather lame cop-out. The film is just fine until it deteriorates into a war of magic, at which time character and plot are put on hold while special effects take the spotlight. The Craft is another casualty of style over substance.

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