Film Review: “Hocus Pocus 2”


Contributed from: Disney+

“Hocus Pocus 2” is a long waited sequel to one of the classic Halloween films. Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker all reprise their roles as the Sanderson sisters.

Cassandra Bauer, Film Reviewer

“Hocus Pocus” has become a staple of the Halloween season. Striking a balance between spooky vibes and goofy comedy, it is the perfect family film for a fall movie night. The long-awaited sequel “Hocus Pocus 2” delivers this same balance.

Its original film is no doubt a classic reaching cult status, but it wasn’t always this way. Upon release, “Hocus Pocus” was received by audiences and critics fairly mildly, and if it wasn’t for consistent airing on television and DVD sales the film could have fallen into obscurity. The cable channel Freeform (formally known as ABC Family) was known to host marathons of the film or air it back to back all day on Halloween. This intense love of “Hocus Pocus” brought forth a sequel nearly 30 years later.

This edition tells a similar story of a group of teenagers accidentally bringing three 17th century witches to the modern day by lighting a black flame candle. The new group of teens is comprised of three young girls, Becca, Izzy, and Cassie, who all share a curiosity for magic while navigating a rocky friendship. When the three iconic witches run amok in the town of Salem, these girls have to join together and stop them from casting a dangerous immortality spell.

Similarly to its original, “Hocus Pocus 2” gives us a brief prologue that tells the audience some useful background knowledge and sets up the main story. In this prologue, we get to see the Sanderson Sisters as children who are played by talented young actresses that capture their characters’ adult counterparts with a great deal of charm. Within this brief origin story, we see how important these sisters are to each other as they revolt against a common enemy: the town Reverend, played by Tony Hale, who also plays the town mayor in the present day.

Directed by Anne Fletcher, this movie released onto Disney+ on Sept. djj “Hocus Pocus 2” brings the same charm its original did with some added moving messages about friendship (Contributed from: Disney+)

Fortunately, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy all reprise their roles as our favorite witches. They each easily slip right back into their campy characters with flawless comedic timing. We once again see Winnie, Sarah, and Mary marveled by the modern world. But this time instead of roads and buses, they are mystified by smart speakers, roomba vacuums, and Walgreens. It seems clear that this trio loved getting back together for some witchy fun.

The cast is also welcomed with many new additions including Sam Richardson, Tony Hale, and a small Hannah Waddingham cameo. But the real stars are our protagonists Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo and Lilia Buckingham who bring the central trio of Becca, Izzy, and Cassie to life with a great deal of affection. 

Sequels can be a tricky territory. There has to be just enough references to the original to appeal to the fans, but not too many to alienate new viewers in addition to providing fresh ideas that keep the story interesting. “Hocus Pocus 2” brings the same charm its original did with some added moving messages about friendship, a couple killer musical numbers, and wholesome Halloween nostalgia.

“Hocus Pocus 2” is now streaming on Disney Plus.