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Hocus Pocus 2 review – a spectacularly wicked nostalgic sequel

September 30, 2022

This Disney+ movie review Hocus Pocus 2 contains no spoilers.

The witches are back! After nearly three decades, Disney has finally decided to give viewers a sequel to their cult classic, Hocus Pocus. The movie was made by Anne Flecher and the stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, reprising their iconic roles as three Sanderson sisters: Winnie, Mary and Sarah. Doug Jones also returned as “good zombie” Billy Richardson.

The plot for Hocus Pocus 2 is familiar, but the right amount of originality is mixed into the cauldron. In the opening scenes, we learn how the Sanderson sisters got their powers. They are forced to flee into the woods after 16-year-old Winnie refuses to marry the boy Salem’s de facto leader, Reverant Traske (Tony Hale), chooses for her. In retaliation, the Reverend tries to kidnap her sisters and place them in the 1600s version of foster care. Of course, the three run away together and meet a witch (Hannah Waddingham) who gives them the book of sentient magic.

The film then cuts to present-day Salem. Set 29 years after the events of the original, the tale centers on three teenagers, Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham). The three were best friends until Cassie started dating a typical jock (Froy Gutierrez). Also fans of witchcraft, the teenagers spend a lot of time in the former house of the Sanderson sisters, now transformed into a magic shop/museum run by Gilbert (Sam Richardson), who happens to be a big fan of the Sanderson sisters. Becca and Izzy become the maidens who accidentally conjure witches once again. This time, the wicket trio are determined to exact revenge and destroy Salem once and for all.

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As for the sequels, Hocus Pocus 2 does a lot of things right. It pays homage to the original while remaining focused on telling its own story. We learn more about the Sanderson sisters and the importance of their bond. The musical numbers are fun and the fish out of water elements are executed to perfection. Watching the three witches in a Walgreens try “potions” made me laugh. So does putting witches face-to-face with modern equipment like two Roombas with minds of their own and Amazon’s Alexa as a “little woman trapped in a box.” Including a black cat that doesn’t talk was a nice little nod to the first film.

Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker act out their roles as if no time has passed since they last cast spells in these colorful witch costumes. It’s clear the cast had a blast filming this, and it shows on screen. The young actors also did a good job. And Doug Jones’ depiction of a zombie who really wants everyone to know that the relationship between him and Winnie wasn’t that deep is hilarious.

Less dark than the 1993 film, the sequel delivers a message of friendship and brotherhood in colorful Halloween packaging. Hocus Pocus 2 blends the themes that gave the original cult status with a heartfelt new story while introducing magic to a new generation. Many millennials who grew up with the first film can now revel in the nostalgia while enjoying the sequel with their kids, and that’s what Disney should be.

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What did you think of Hocus Pocus 2? Comments below.

Further reading

  • Hocus Pocus 2 ending explained.

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