‘Hocus Pocus 2 ‘ Movie Review: (2022)

Hocus Pocus’ 2 Movie Review: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles in the follow-up to the 1993 film about a group of kids who accidentally revive a powerful coven of witches.

Hocus Pocus 2 ' Movie Review: (2022)

Hocus Pocus’ 2 Movie Review: (2022):Abrasive siblings the Sanderson sisters cast a spell on Disney audiences twenty-nine years ago. They at least made an effort. Hocus Pocus, a delightfully bizarre Halloween movie directed by Kenny Ortega, wasn’t initially well received by critics or even audiences, but it has developed a cult following over time. Years after the film’s debut, my younger sisters and I happened to see it while channel-surfing. We enjoyed its strange, off-kilter tone. After that, it became our ritual to watch Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) pursue kids through Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night.

Hocus Pocus 2

Brian Roberts
Hulu’s Value in Focus as Disney, Comcast Go Public With Negotiation Tactics
Hocus Pocus 2
Honors the past without forging into the future.
Release date: Friday, Sept. 30 (Disney+)
Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Sam Richardson, Doug Jones
Director: Anne Fletcher
Screenwriter: Jen D’Angelo (screenplay by), David Kirschner (story by, based on the characters created by), Blake Harris (story by), Mick Garris (based on the characters created by)
Rated PG, 1 hour 43 minutes

Hocus Pocus 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the original Disney film, honors its history without knowing quite how to move beyond it. Directed by Anne Fletcher, the live-action comedy film bears the markings of a struggle between embracing existing fans and courting new ones. Recycled plot points, jaunts down memory lane and knowing winks at the broader fandom are rolled into the type of sleek CGI package that’s typical of Disney offerings these days. The result is a thin but satisfactory piece of entertainment.

The most intriguing aspect of Hocus Pocus 2 is its star trio: Midler, Parker, and Najimy reprise their roles with the same enthusiastic kookiness that made Hocus Pocus so adored (apart from its usefulness as a lesson in how you can’t bottle and market nostalgia). They appear to be having a good time.

The movie starts out with a flashback. At 16, Winifred Sanderson (Taylor Henderson) learns if she is a witch and, in accordance with the colonial patriarchy, should get married. Winnie is upset at the second section and is unaware of the first. Sarah (Juju Journey Brener) and Mary, her sisters, dwell in the home that she storms into (Nina Kitchen). Winnie’s bossiness, Sarah’s submissiveness, and Mary’s sarcastic asides are traces of the trio’s adult characteristics that prevent this flashback from feeling entirely pointless.

With gifts and compliments, Sarah and Mary attempt to comfort Winnie after the town’s reverend (Tony Hale) asks her to wed someone other than her beloved Billy Butcherson (Austin J. Ryan). They find themselves fleeing from Reverend Traske and the entire town of Salem before they can make any progress. The sisters eventually find themselves in the middle of a forest, when they come into contact with a witch, who discloses to them that they are also magical beings. Later on, the significance of the Sanderson sisters’ origin story is made obvious, but it’s difficult to avoid squinting at the movie’s attempt to justify the trio’s brutality with a pseudo-feminist justification, just like Cruella attempted with its lead character.

The Sandersons, as we know from Hocus Pocus, haven’t been seen in years as we fast-forward to the present. Once more, it’s Halloween. Town lore now includes the tale of their defeat at the hands of three children 29 years ago. With Cassie having a boyfriend, Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) are having relationship issues (Froy Gutierrez). Becca, who unintentionally learns that Cassie is hosting a Halloween party concurrently, plans to celebrate her 16th birthday celebration separately from Cassie. The three magic-obsessed buddies used to have a custom of using their favourite location deep in the woods to cast spells and experiment with charms. not anymore, really.

The three of them exchange a tight look before Becca and Izzy move forward with their individual schemes. Gilbert (Sam Richardson), a nerdy magic aficionado who is fixated with the Sanderson sisters (for reasons I won’t reveal here), runs a small town magic shop that the group visits. He decides to entertain Salem’s younger people by telling tales from their life. Gilbert presents Becca with an enchanted candle, but he doesn’t let them know that. They revive the witches just like their forerunners in Hocus Pocus do when Becca and Izzy light it at their secret location in the light of the full moon.

Hocus Pocus 2 is significantly lightened by the Sandersons’ arrival, which features a bombastic sequence of the earth splitting, the moon darkening, lightning crackling, and, of course, a song and dance. The movie assumes its role as an occasion. Returning this time, Winnie, Sarah, and Mary aspire to be the most powerful witches in the entire world and live forever. That last wish is brand-new; perhaps 30 years of slumber makes world dominance, a well-known objective of fictional villains, more alluring.

Becca and Izzy accompany the sisters to Walgreens where they are promised retinol to keep them young in an effort to divert the sisters from feeding on their souls. One of the funniest scenes in Hocus Pocus 2 features the sisters feasting in the skincare section while chowing down on face masks and sipping anti-aging elixirs. Additionally, they encounter a group of admirers who request a selfie, introducing the ancient witches to the influence of Instagram effects.

The connection between Midler, Parker, and Najimy has hardly changed throughout the years between movies, giving them an exciting presence on screen. The parts in Hocus Pocus 2 that feel like everyone in front of and behind the camera is under their entrancing spell are the most consistently delightful. On Halloween night, the sisters slither and snake their way through Salem, cracking one-liners and jokes about the absurdities of modern life with their renowned incisive tongues and quick wit. Their bite is lessened by the movie’s desire to soften them, but they still have a passion for evil and a contempt for children.

Hocus Pocus 2 struggles a little more when the Sanderson dynamic is absent, though not for lack of trying. Gilbert and grownup Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) have a cute and silly friendship that shows off the movie’s uniqueness potential. But the movie’s teen witch story is difficult to glitz up, especially after Hocus Pocus, when there was no shortage of similar tales, from Halloweentown to Sabrina (and its reboot). Since their friendship doesn’t receive enough screen time for us to care about it, it’s difficult to conjure the same enthusiasm for Becca, Izzy, and Cassie’s sororal relationship. The Sanderson sisters continue to be the centre of attention even as other girls come into focus and take up more of the story.


Distributor: Disney+
Production companies: Walt Disney Pictures, David Kirschner Productions
Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Sam Richardson, Doug Jones,
Hannah Waddingham, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham,
Froyan Gutierrez, Tony Hale
Director: Anne Fletcher
Screenwriters: Jen D’Angelo (screenplay by), David Kirschner (story by, based on the characters created by), Blake Harris (story by), Mick Garris (based on the characters created by)
Producer: Lynn Harris
Executive producers: Ralph Winter, David Kirschner, Adam Shankman
Cinematographer: Elliot Davis
Production designer: Nelson Coates
Costume designer: Salvador Pérez Jr.
Editor: Julia Wong
Composer: John Debney
Casting directors: Cathy Sandrich Gelfond, Amanda Mackey
Rated PG, 1 hour 43 minutes

Leave a Comment