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Old 10-14-2009, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Columbia/Sony Pictures - 1996
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 101 Minutes
Genre: Horror/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Thai, Chinese
Starring: Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Music by: Graeme Revell
Written by: Peter Filardi & Andrew Fleming
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 13, 2009

"Relax, it's only magic"

Film Synopsis:

Sarah has always been different. So as the new girl at St. Benedict's Academy, she immediately falls in with the high school outsiders. But these girls won't settle for being powerless misfits. They have discovered "THE CRAFT," and they are going to use it.

My Take:

The Craft follows a successful cinematic formula that centers around the new loner who comes to school and falls in with the wrong crowd. In this case the wrong crowd being three misfit teen girls who happen to be witches. They believe in and practice black magic but have had relatively little success because their circle is incomplete and requires a fourth witch. The three girls each have issues: Nancy (Balk) is trashy and lives in a trailer with her mom and abusive stepfather, Bonnie (Campbell) has massive burn scars all over her back, and insecure athlete African American Rochelle (True) is subjected to racist taunts by popular girl Laura Lizzie. Sarah (Tunney), a troubled girl who has previously attempted suicide, just moved from San Francisco with her father and stepmother. She is the new kid in school and is first noticed by Bonnie as she (Sarah) sat daydreaming in class while simultaneously causing a pencil to levitate and spin on its tip. After school, the three girls befriend Sarah and take her to an occult shop. The shop's owner comments that she can see that Sarah is not like the other girls and notices that her powers seem to be natural and emanate from within. After they leave the shop, Sarah is harassed by a snake wielding bum. She runs from him and all four girls simultaneously will for something to happen and he is suddenly hit by a car. Nancy is thrilled at their and tells Sarah about "invoking the Spirit" Manon, which is their ultimate goal as a coven. The girls test their newly acquired skills by casting spells on enemies at school or effecting physical or life altering changes in their lives. This leads Nancy to perform the invoke the spirit ritual which succeeds in aligning her with Manon and giving her newfound powers. She uses her newly acquired abilities to enhance her already dark persona and inflict spells/enchantments which hurt others. This puts her at odds with Sarah who comes to realize that Nancy and the others are perhaps taking things too far and delving too deeply into the unknown. When Sarah decides that she wants to leave the coven the others turn their powers on her. What they don't see is that there is something different about Sarah. Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle are about to find out that Sarah is not one to be trifled with.

The Craft is one of the decent teen horror films that came out of the mid nineties. I like the youthful/modern spin on the witches brew theme. The four young leads play an integral part in the success of the film. At the time Neve Campbell was probably the best known. I always thought she was appealing but have never found her to be very convincing in the roles I have seen her in. Robin Tunney as Sarah and Fairuza Balk as the twisted Nancy anchored the young cast. The story and characters are developed well although the script can be a little superficial at times. The Craft strikes most of the formulaic chords we have all heard but I like its fallible yet sympathetic characters, well integrated horror and dramatic plot points and modern twist. I haven't seen it in a long time but really enjoyed this revisit on Blu-ray Disc.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some terror/violence, and brief sensuality and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The Craft comes to Blu-ray Disc from Columbia/Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

This presentation offers solid high definition images that are framed in a 1.85:1 aspect. Colors are accurate and tonally balanced with primary colors tending to exhibit a bit more saturation and secondary hues appearing more reserved. Complexions are tonally descriptive and lifelike in depiction. Detail in low light and dark backgrounds is excellent. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep and gradationally satisfying. Images are resolute and stable with discernible refinement being more apparent during close ups. The video doesn't offer razor sharp delineation but I felt it was very filmic and appeared faithful to the original source. The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio presentation did a nice job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue had excellent intonation and clarity which allowed subtle tonal differences in the voices of the cast to be noticeable. This was a well balanced and fairly active surround mix that quite often engaged the entire system. Dynamic range was excellent and the audio had an open expression that allowed it to extend well into the room. Surround activity during some of the film's frightening moments provided an enriching level of immersion that generated a seamless 360 degree sound field. This included revolving voices, blowing wind, clapping thunder and a pretty potent explosion sequence that contained near field sound effects, energy filled dynamics and a 90's techno rhythms based music score. The LFE channel helped reproduce the film's music and lower bass frequencies with good impact and palpable tactility. I have to admit that this soundtrack sounded much better that expected.

Bonus Features:

  • Director's commentary

  • Conjuring The Craft - 24 minute featurette

  • The original behind the scenes making of The Craft - 6 minutes

  • 3 Deleted scenes with optional commentary

  • (HD) BD Previews

    1. Ghostbusters
    2. The DaVinci Code
    3. Close encounters of the third kind
    4. Men in black

  • BD-Live enabled

Final Thoughts:

The Craft is a decent teen horror film that may not be award winning cinema but does offer a fresh, youthful and entertaining spin on the genre. I haven't seen it in years but this revisit served as a reminder why I originally liked it. I am happy to report that its presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Columbia/Sony is a good one that offers fine audio/video quality and a limited but acceptable set of bonus supplements that should appeal to fans. This is a solid high definition catalog offering from Sony that has found a home in my Blu-ray collection.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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Old 10-14-2009, 07:38 AM
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Concur with your final thoughts on this one Ralph. Thought the ending on this movie was decent.

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Old 10-15-2009, 02:17 AM
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Was surprised that this one actually managed to portray Wicca in a pretty legit manner, with the exception of Fairuza Balk's Hot Topic faux-goth character. A recommended rental!

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Old 10-15-2009, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for the review, now I can get rid of my standard def as Blu-ray has spoiled me to no end! .
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:03 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph! I remember enjoying this fllick when I saw it back in the 90s. I look forward to adding this one to my growing blu-ray collection. I don't have any movies dealing directly with witchcraft, so this one should fit the bill.
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