Sarah Bailey is the main protagonist of The Craft.
After moving to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother, she befriended a group of girls: Nancy Downs, Rochelle Zimmerman, and Bonnie Harper, who were all practitioners of witchcraft, though it is only after she joined them did they all become real, magical witches. While Sarah initially had fun with her new friends, and reveled in exploring the magical arts with them, she gradually became emotionally and physically estranged from them as their powers brought out the very worst in them. Ultimately, she realized her friends had gone beyond reason and, empowered by a deity and the knowledge of her being a natural witch whose mother had been one herself, she stripped Rochelle and Bonnie of all their powers, and not only bound Nancy's magic, but also had her committed to a psychiatric hospital.
In the beginning, Sarah was shown to be a lonely, troubled, and unconfident girl struggling with depression issues that, in the past, had been serious enough to drive her to attempt suicide. She also had a fear of snakes, rodents, and insects, once stating that before she tried to commit suicide, she would hallucinate those creatures everywhere. Last but not least, it was hinted that she blamed herself for her mother's death in childbirth.
Despite her numerous issues, Sarah still had a kind heart, and had a far superior sense of morality and self-control compared to her friends - while they had absolutely no qualms with regularly stealing from Lirio's shop, she paid for what she wanted. As she became a true believer in witchcraft and regularly practiced it with her friends, Sarah demonstrated a witty side that responded with passive-aggressive sarcasm towards those whom she disliked, as well as a certain vengeful streak - she cast a love spell on Chris as revenge for spreading lies about her, and a behaviour-dependent hair-loss spell on Laura for constantly bullying Rochelle.
In the midst of this, though, Sarah never once lost her compassion, her willingness to help others in need, and her conscience: as shown in a deleted scene, despite being uncertain as to whether she could really do it, she yielded to Bonnie's pleas and performed a healing ritual on her, leading to all of Bonnie's physical and emotional scars being completely, magically healed. Also, while she had cast that love spell to get Chris to like her, and initially delighted in his dramatically changed behaviour towards her, she gradually realised that she was humiliating him in an extreme way that she did not like at all, and even tried to find a way to undo her spell, only to be dismayed when Lirio told her that the spell must run its course, and she was utterly horrified and upset when Nancy killed Chris.
Besides all this, Sarah's conscience and wisdom led her to harbour a true heartfelt respect for the laws of magic, especially the Rule of Three. In fact, it was this very respect and her conscience that led her to become physically and emotionally estranged from her friends, for she realised that they were wholly out of control with their rapidly evolving powers - Bonnie's becoming completely narcissistic, changing traffic lights to suit them, utter lack of remorse or guilt over Chris' and Ray's deaths, etc. While she was initially frightened beyond belief as it was one (her) against three (Nancy, Rochelle, and Bonnie), and they initially had the upper hand over her due to Nancy's potent powers and they knowing her weaknesses, thanks to Lirio's guidance and her mother's spirit's encouragement, Sarah ultimately found true strength and real courage within herself, and subsequently defeated her former friends - binding Nancy's magic permanently, and stripping Rochelle and Bonnie of theirs so none of them could cause any more harm to others or themselves.
Hence, by the end of the film, Sarah Bailey emerged as a strong and confident young woman, comfortable in her own skin and with her powers, and not afraid to make a point when necessary.
Powers and abilities
Sarah had been described by Lirio to be a "natural witch" whose powers "came from within", which meant that unlike her friends (who needed her to complete the circle to truly cast real magic), she was born with the innate ability to manipulate the forces of nature and defy the laws of reality as she wished, and her potential in these mystical powers was superior to those who had to regularly train and hone themselves in witchcraft to become witches. While she was initially ignorant of her powers, and had no control over them, her experiences with her friends (who later became her enemies), Lirio, and the deity Manon led her to ultimately blossom into an extremely powerful, knowledgeable, confident, and self-controlled witch.
Even before she met her friends and learned the truth about her being a natural witch, Sarah's innate magic was already quite powerful, enabling her to access the powers of:
- Wish Granting: The ability to grant the wishes of others or oneself, manifesting the desires of others and themselves into reality, making their wildest dreams come true. However, Sarah once confessed to her friends that she had no control over this ability, and so while she was able to make her own wishes come true, they manifested in a way she neither expected nor liked - when she wished for it to rain, a pipe would burst in her room, causing her to get flooded, and when she wished for quietness, she went deaf for "three days straight".
- Telekinesis: The ability to move, shape, connect, rearrange, disfigure and alter the properties and materials of objects, the environment and individuals with one's mind.
After she had met her friends and started truly practicing witchcraft with them, Sarah's magic flourished, enabling her to access powers such as:
- Magic: The ability to connect with the mystical forces of nature and bend the universe to her liking whether it be the laws of reality, manipulation of luck, probability and science, jinxing people and making incidents and occurrences fall into place. This can be used with concentration of the mind, meditation, conjuring and invoking spirits and supernatural energies and using occult and spiritual tools and resources including rituals and chants for numerous affects.
- Spiritual Detection: The ability to visually concept, perceive, summon and communicate with the deceased and other spiritual beings connected to many astral realms. This can be used to make deals, gain insight of people, situations and events and gain intuition. This can grant astral vision and detection.
- Healing: The ability to repair the physical damages of someone, like Sarah made with Bonnie's scars.
- Levitation: The ability to make oneself, or others, or other objects to hover or float in the air unassisted and not making contact with the ground below. Sarah first caught Bonnie's attention when the latter saw the former levitating a pencil in class, and much later on, during a sleepover, Sarah, Bonnie, and Nancy combined their energies and concentration to levitate Rochelle a few feet above the ground.
- Spell Casting: The ability to cast spells to produce specific magical effects. Sarah's first spell was a love spell on Chris to make him like her, her second a hair-loss spell on Laura that was entirely dependent on Laura's behaviour (each and every time Laura bullied Rochelle, her hair would fall out), her third a powerful healing spell that completely and thoroughly healed Bonnie's physical and emotional scars, and her fourth a binding spell on Nancy. However, her spells on Chris and Laura turned out to be too strong - Chris was gradually reduced to a pathetic lovesick puppy who tried to rape her, and Laura went bald, causing her to suffer a thorough breakdown. Besides this, she was unable to undo her own spells (Lirio explained to her that a spell once cast must run its course), and her attempt to bind Nancy's powers was initially unsuccessful as Nancy was, at that point in time, far more powerful than she was.
- Glamour: The ability to change the appearance of oneself and others. During a sleepover at Nancy's house, Sarah used a glamour to turn her eye colour from green to brown, and upon her friends' requests for "something bigger", she glamoured her hair to turn from brown to blonde.
- Invocation: The ability to summon an entity (usually a higher power like a deity) to either communicate with, or offer sacrifice to, or petition for a particular request or wish to be granted. Sarah participated in her coven's invocation of Manon, and later independently invoked Manon herself to acquire superior powers to defeat Nancy, Rochelle, and Bonnie.
- Mediumship: The ability to perceive and communicate with spirits and those who are in the afterlife. When Sarah was backed into a corner during her final confrontation with her former friends, she saw her mother's spirit smiling at her encouragingly, telling her to be brave and "reach inside herself", which gave her the necessary courage and strength she needed to successfully invoke Manon.
After invoking Manon, Sarah's powers advanced dramatically, enabling her to access abilities such as:
- Glamour (Advanced): Sarah's glamouring ability advanced to the point where she could create illusions so realistic and powerful that her targets could actually literally feel them - she caused Rochelle's mirror reflection to be as bald as she made Laura, and Bonnie's to be even more scarred than she was previously. While it was shown to be only an illusion in a mirror, it was still enough to reduce Bonnie to tears, and cause her and Rochelle both to flee, for it was so real, and they could actually touch and feel it - Rochelle's hands touched and felt that her head was bald when her hair was actually still intact, and Bonnie's hands also touched and felt that her face was thoroughly scarred when her face was still intact in real life.
- Mental Hallucination: The ability to create, shape, and manipulate hallucinations or delusions. During Sarah's final confrontation with Nancy, she caused Nancy to suffer an intensely realistic hallucination where her hair and fingers turned into snakes, and cockroaches were all over her body and even in her mouth.
- Regeneration: The ability to rapidly heal and get restored back to optimal and full health at an extremely fast rate. As Sarah successfully invoked Manon, her wounds from Nancy were healed almost instantaneously.
- Teleportation: The ability to move from a space to another, she displays this ability when she materialized through a mirror that acted like a portal, which allowed her to gain the element of surprise on Nancy during their fight.
- Intangibility: The ability to phase through physical matter. During Sarah's final confrontation with Nancy, she phased through a mirror, which allowed her to gain the element of surprise on Nancy.
- Invisibility: The ability to render oneself unable to be seen by the naked eye and become invisible in visible spectrum. During Sarah's final confrontation with Nancy, she once turned herself invisible to confuse Nancy.
- Superhuman Strength: The ability to possess a level of physical strength drastically beyond what is naturally possible. During Sarah's final confrontation with Nancy, she gave Nancy a front dropkick that sent her literally flying a great distance away, causing Nancy to slam into a mirror and fall unconscious.
- Spell Casting (Advanced): Sarah's spell-casting abilities advanced to the point where she could bind Nancy's (another Manon-empowered witch) powers, and also strip Rochelle and Bonnie of theirs, leaving the three of them utterly powerless.
- Weather Manipulation: The ability to sense, create, shape, and manipulate weather. Towards the end of the film, when Sarah overheard Bonnie and Rochelle mocking her for her supposed loss of magic, she summoned a storm over them - powerful winds blew, heavy dark clouds covered the formerly bright sun, and a bolt of lightning struck a tree branch, which almost dropped directly on them both, leaving them thoroughly cowed.
- Electromagnetism: The ability to affect the electromagnetic fields in the surrounding area of the user, she displays this ability when she makes the lights in her home go out due to the extreme fear she was experiencing, she later gains control over the storm that Nancy was using to terrorize her.
Click here to see the Sarah Bailey gallery.
- Sarah Bailey was portrayed by Robin Tunney. At the time Robin auditioned for the film, her hair was an inch long because she shaved it for a previous film (Empire Records). She ended up being cast, but had to wear a red wig throughout the film, though Tunney is originally a brunette.
- She was the only actor (out of the four) to not have studied witchcraft for the film. Fairuza Balk (Nancy Downs) at the time of the film was already a practicing Wiccan and afterwards bought an occult shop in Hollywood that she went to study for the role and Rachel True (Rochelle) read from a copy of the Spiral Dance (a famous book on Wicca and its relationship with feminism and goddess-worship).
- Robin Tunney was already friends with Skeet Ulrich (Chris Hooker) before The Craft.
- According to the filmmakers, Sarah's classical element is Earth, which is the strongest of the Wiccan basic four elements, and signifies the powers of Mother, Earth, Nurture, and Nature.