Obviously intended to cash in on the theatrical release THE CRAFT (1996), this tacky direct-to-video item especially suffers from the comparison.
While most of the girls at the Catholic Santa Clarita Academy go home for Easter break, a small group stays behind, including sweet, troubled Faith (Mimi Reichmeister) and bad girl Jamie (Sheeri Rappaport). Workers repairing earthquake damage uncover a secret chamber behind the church, and the
girls learn that a group of female students calling themselves the Illuminati Society held rituals there 100 years before. Jamie leads the other girls in re-enacting those rites, and employs Faith to translate a Latin book of incantations they find in the crypt. They discover that the rituals are
intended to raise a being known as "He Who Comes"; meanwhile, Faith becomes friendly with hunky workman Daniel (Tommy Stork).
Increasingly overcome by the evil she's invoking, Jamie attempts to seduce Daniel and contrives the deaths of aged Mother Clodah (Zelda Rubinstein) and Father Michael (Jack Nance), believing each may be the "Lord's guardian" who can stop her. Instead, friendly teacher Sherilyn (Jennifer Rubin)
proves to be the guardian, and Jamie stabs her. It falls to Faith to stop the girls' final sacrifice of Daniel; "He Who Comes" rises in the form of a horrible demon that drags Jamie down to hell, and the book falls after them.
Even divorced from comparisons to THE CRAFT, LITTLE WITCHES is a most unconvincing tale of teenage sorcery. Despite being directed by a woman (Jane Simpson), the film has no real empathy for its female characters or any suggestion that their occult dabblings stem from their life problems; they
simply start indulging in witchcraft because it's, like, kinda cool. And the closest the script comes to dramatizing ancient Earth magic is a moment when Jamie tells the girls, "We have to get rid of anything modern," which means, of course, that they must immediately remove all their clothes.
The characterizations are strictly surface-level--Faith's a good girl, Jamie's a bad one, and that's about it, with some of their fellow junior witches barely even introduced by name. Simpson's direction incorporates several awkward camera moves and insert shots, and by the end, when the action
lurches from one location to another without rhyme or reason, sticking with the movie has become more toil and trouble than it's worth. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Obviously intended to cash in on the theatrical release THE CRAFT (1996), this tacky direct-to-video item especially suffers from the comparison. While most of the girls at the Catholic Santa Clarita Academy go home for Easter break, a small group stays b… (more)