Flop or Spell Binding? A Review on Hocus Pocus 2


Elaina Freeman, Writer

When October 1st rolls around each year, there is one movie that everyone turns to put them in the spooky spirit: Hocus Pocus! Hocus Pocus is a beloved Halloween movie that is impossible to escape this time of year. If you are somehow unfamiliar with this movie here is a brief run down of the plot. The story follows Max Dennison on his first Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts. In trying to impress his crush Allison, he lights the allegedly cursed Black Flame Candle. However the candle is legitimately cursed and ends up bringing back the Sanderson Sisters; three soul sucking witches with a desire to get revenge on all of Salem.

The movie is released to less than stellar reviews. Over time though, audiences’ opinions change.  In complete contrast with what happened upon release, the movie is now considered audiences’ go to Halloween movie.  The Sanderson sisters are now a widely recognizable costume with a lot of mainstream appeal.  This year alone it will be shown on Freeform 13 times during the month of October.  For a majority of people, it is the first movie that comes to mind when thinking about Halloween movies.

For decades, audiences have been reciting the lines, dressing as the characters and watching the movie. In the age of remakes, there are still some movies that honestly feel untouchable. These movies feel sacred and feel like they should not ever be remade. For years, fans have been asking for a sequel to Hocus Pocus.  While it was always nice to say that, the idea of a new Hocus Pocus never felt real.

On September 30th 2022, fans finally got their wish. The long awaited Hocus Pocus sequel(appropriately called Hocus Pocus 2) was released exclusively for streaming on Disney+.  Any information released about the movie caused fans’ excitement to grow by the second.  By the time September 30th rolled around, audiences were ecstatic to see what the Sanderson Sisters were up to, now 29 years later.

As a massive fan of the original, I was so excited to watch the movie. I went into the movie with a completely open mind and high hopes that this would be just as magical as its predecessor. As someone who typically loves sequels(sometimes more than originals) I couldn’t wait to watch Hocus Pocus 2. Honestly when the movie finished I was left underwhelmed.

The movie overall was ok. I was left wanting so much more.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t say it was awful but I also wouldn’t say it was good either. I wanted so desperately to love it, but I just couldn’t. While the movie was purely made as a fan service, it didn’t really feel like it honored what the fans were asking for. Honestly, this one felt like a less impactful  version of the first one.  While the central concept for the movies were practically identical this movie lacked the feeling of Hocus Pocus.  Seeing the witches be reintroduced to modern life in the sequel, felt so much less impactful than their first introduction.

However, this movie did have some redeeming qualities. For starters, the fact that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy all returned for the sequel is truly a reason to watch. Their chemistry is incredible and just seeing them as the Sanderson Sisters again is enough to make any fan happy. The movie is also constantly referencing the first one and all of those moments are a highlight of the movie as a whole.

If you love Hocus Pocus, then it’s worth checking out the sequel. Is it as good as the original?  Honestly it doesn’t even compare to it.  Fans of the original will appreciate the similarities but still might be left wanting to rewatch the original. Overall I would give this move three/five stars. Honestly Hocus Pocus 2 just didn’t have the magic that Hocus Pocus still has!