“Hocus Pocus 2” review

Hocus Pocus 2 featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy (left to right) return to fulfill their roles as the Sanderson Sisters.

Image courtesy of Angie Martinez

Hocus Pocus 2 featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy (left to right) return to fulfill their roles as the Sanderson Sisters.

Angie Martinez, Staff Writer, Copy Editor

The original Hocus Pocus movie, released in 1993, opens in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693. Thackery Binx, one of our main protagonists, races to stop the Sanderson Sisters, a group of witches, from draining the life out of his sister to make themselves young again. He fails and is cursed to live for eternity as a cat. The Sanderson Sisters are caught and hanged but not after they cast a curse to be brought back from the dead once a virgin lights the Black Flame Candle. Centuries go by and we are introduced to Max, Dani, and Allison, three siblings who recently moved to Salem. The trio decides to explore the Sanderson Sisters’ cottage where Max lights the Black Flame Candle and the Sanderson Sisters are brought back to Salem. Now, Max, Dani, Allison, and Binx must work together to stop the Sanderson Sisters by sunrise and save Salem.

Hocus Pocus 2 begins similarly to the original, opening in Salem, but this time the Sanderson Sisters are shown younger;  we see how they became witches and where their hatred toward Salem originated. Then we jump to the present on Halloween night where a group of teens accidentally resurrect the witches yet again. This time, instead of focusing on eating children’s souls, the Sanderson Sisters attempt to make themselves all-powerful.

Naturally, from the perspective of those who grew up watching the original movie, a sequel could never measure up to the nostalgic magic that formed their childhoods. It’s difficult to shake off the feeling that the movie is just another money-grab attempt, and at first it seemed that way.

Their partnership with Walgreens is confusing and doesn’t contribute anything valuable to the plot. We are given little context to their background or an explanation as to what makes the sisters so irregular. Audiences are simply expected to accept that they have always been wicked. There are bits of dialogue that hint as to why they are different from the other characters but it is never brought up again. The tone change toward the end was sudden and disrupted the flow of the film. Although there are some jokes for parents, the majority of the humor relies on old gags. It also left a lot of plot holes that will either be left unexplained or will set up a story for another sequel.

Regardless of these flaws, the sequel can still be considered a decent cult classic sequel. It has the same goofy and lighthearted fun as the original and watching Bette Mider, Sara Parker, and Kathy Najimy return as the Sanderson Sisters to reclaim their iconic roles was absolutely delightful. Seeing them interact as sisters gave us a closer view of their sibling dynamics and added a layer of light comedy. The new music numbers, including the original song The Witches Are Back and a rendition of One Way or Another, were to be expected but are enjoyable nonetheless. The film didn’t rely on callbacks from the original movie and offered an independent storyline with new characters. With a loving message about the importance of family, it’s difficult to be completely unsatisfied with the movie.