Here’s the bad news – yet another ’90s horror flick, 1996’s supernatural teen thriller The Craft, is getting a profoundly unnecessary update. But here’s the good news – it’s coming at us from Leigh Janiak, the up-and-coming horror helmer behind last year’s indelibly creepy Honeymoon.
Sony has set Janiak to direct and co-write the script alongside Phil Graziadei, the same arrangement the pair had on Honeymoon. Notably, original Craft producer Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, Columbia’s vice chairman back in 1996, are both attached to produce.
The original film was a cult classic starring Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk and Robin True as a young witch and the three wannabe practitioners she introduces to the dark arts after meeting them at a Catholic school. Though the group relishes the opportunity to use magic to solve their personal problems at first, they soon encounter the darker side of witchcraft. Andrew Fleming directed and co-wrote the original.
Excitingly, though the first Craft, centered on young women exploring incredible powers, was made by a man, Janiak’s hiring marks a rare instance of a mainstream studio tapping a female director to direct a female-centric project. Sony had been eyeing her for a few weeks, ever since she blew a pitch with execs for a female empowerment tale out of the water. In addition to Honeymoon, Janiak also directed an upcoming episode of MTV’s Scream series, cementing her predilection for the genre.
Though the original movie was inescapably campy, partially because of the cast but also because of Fleming’s stylish direction, Janiak seems like an extremely solid choice to deliver a much scarier, darker take on the idea, like Fede Alvarez did with Evil Dead in 2013. Studios are definitely aiming darker with their horror reboots, now that James Wan’s The Conjuring and Insidious films have set the bar high for bloodcurdling scares, but in The Craft‘s case, I could see that being a very good thing.