The Craft



Campy teen witch thriller more violent than fun.
  • Review Date: July 24, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One character abuses Rochelle because she's black, saying, "I don't like negroids." There's lots of revenge and cruelty on all sides.


A lot of imagined and "real" violence: People are stabbed repeatedly, electrocuted, almost raped, and fall from windows and die. A man gets hit by a truck (his head and body are visible under the tires), and a married couple has a physical fight. Sarah tried to slit her wrists and has scars from it. Bonnie experiences a painful medical procedure involving a large needle. The girls all prick their fingers and put blood in a cup along with wine.


Lots of talk about getting laid and veiled references to STDs. Sarah kisses Chris and later he spreads a rumor about her being bad in bed even though they didn't have sex. Nancy masquerades as Sarah and has sex with Chris. Bonnie sits shirtless covered by a blanket. Only her back is exposed.


Some swearing, including "hell," "bitch," "asshole," "s--t," "f--k," and "ass."


A bus has an ad for Benetton. The girls watch an episode of Bewitched.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

All the teens drink beer and liquor and smoke lots of cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this teen Wiccan movie with attractive stars is really about violence and revenge. Several of the characters die graphically, are threatened with death, or are the subject of a death plot. One character is almost raped on-screen. The film also depicts one family with alcoholic, abusive parents. Wiccan and occult practices, real and imagined, are on display in a way that may seem cool to teens. Also, even though this looks like a girl-power movie, it's quite the opposite. It makes it look like the girls are to blame for the things they've been through -- the moral that what you do comes back 10-fold seems to indicate that they should just shut up and take whatever happens to them.

What's the story?

This is a sinister tale of teenage power and witchcraft. Sarah (Robin Tunney) is new to St. Benedict's Academy in L.A. and looking for friends when Bonnie (Neve Campbell) decides she's the perfect choice for her witch's coven. Soon, Sarah, Bonnie, Rochelle (Rachel True) and ringleader Nancy (Fairuza Balk) are casting spells to get even with their high school nemeses. But their spells begin backfiring in dangerous and disturbing ways, and Sarah, the only "natural witch" in the bunch, must protect herself and those she loves from this power she's unleashed.

Is it any good?


What's odd about The Craft is its sneaking moral: It's supposed to warn girls against resentment and revenge, encouraging them to "do unto others as they would have done unto them," as Wiccan mentor Lirio (Assumpta Serna) says. That's all well and good, but there's also a blame-the-victim mentality here. So they'll get back what they have sown three-fold. Does that mean that Sarah deserves to be raped? Does that mean that Nancy, arguably the most damaged from an abusive childhood, deserves to be locked up? Does the epic battle between Nancy and Sarah really mean that there can only be one Queen Bee, one mean girl? Should they have stood up for themselves in some other way, or simply acquiesced to the abuse around them? These are questions teen viewers should consider.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about religion: Some consider Wicca to be a way to worship the Earth. What do you think? How does it compare with other conventional religions?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 24, 1996
DVD release date:September 12, 2000
Cast:Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Robin Tunney, Skeet Ulrich
Director:Andrew Fleming
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some terror and violence, and for brief language

This review of The Craft was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Quirky, uneven romcom with some witchy violence.
  • Scary '80s vamp film. Older teens only.
  • After Columbine, this dark comedy isn't as funny.
  • Mature but often-hilarious teen comedy.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bywonder dove December 28, 2012

Great film! Mature audiences only!

This film is pretty awesome. I remember first viewing it on TV when I was quite young, maybe 10, because I liked "witchy" movies. And although it freaked me out, I liked it enough to want it on VHS at the time when DVDs weren't out. After viewing the un-dubbed version, I could see why it was rated an R. Lots of language that didn't appear in the TV version including the "F" word and much more cussing. The violence is very strong which includes gory stabbings, one of the witches goes absolutely insane, a very intense ritual, lots of teen bullying, crude racial comments, death scenes, teens getting revenge on classmates, stealing, talking about friends behind their backs, a boy falls out of a window and dies, a man gets hit by a car and dies. Sexual content includes kissing, false rumors about a girl being bad in bed, a girl seduces a drunk guy and tries to sleep with him, some talk about getting laid, a boy becomes obsessed over a girl due to a love spell. Party scenes. One reference to pot. Smoking & drinking are present among teens. Good scary witch craft movie which should only be viewed by 18+. Way too intense for young teens!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byfamily-movie-help March 16, 2014

rating family

it is a realy good movie and not to bad
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old May 12, 2013

PG-13 not R

The craft is a good movie.while it has some iffy stuff in it like one F word and mild cussing.The violence is kinda intense but not a lot of blood.The movie only lasts 101 min,but it does fell like 80 min. because the movie does go by fast.The movie is good,there is a lot of smoking-drinking.Overall the movie was good MPAA should have rated it PG-13 instead of R because Paranorman pushed the PG limits.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide