A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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 this chilling and ominous tale 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: July 24, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2000
- Cast: Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Robin Tunney, Skeet Ulrich
- Director: Andrew Fleming
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some terror and violence, and for brief language
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