“Hocus Pocus 2”: is it worth the watch?


Photo courtesy of Disney+

“Hocus Pocus 2” is currently available for streaming on Disney+

The 1993 Disney movie “Hocus Pocus” is a Halloween classic that many know and love. For many friends and families, gathering during October to watch the spooky film is an annual tradition. Fans of the mystical Sanderson sisters were over the moon when they appeared back on screen 29 years later for the “Hocus Pocus 2” movie that was released on Sept. 30 Although the film invoked some nostalgia, the sequel, unfortunately, fell short of the public’s expectations.

The original “Hocus Pocus” featured Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler as three witches known as the Sanderson sisters. After they come back to life, they continue their quest to stay young forever by consuming the souls of children. The other storyline in “Hocus Pocus” explored the relationship between an older brother named Max and his younger sister named Dani as they tried to defeat the witches.

The movie focused less on the relationships between the Sanderson sisters and more on how they were navigating the modern world. These spooky and sinister elements paired with the silliness that the sisters displayed are part of what makes the film a Halloween favorite.

In “Hocus Pocus 2”, the movie opens up by introducing the Sanderson sisters in 1653’s Salem. In the opening scene, we get to see the three young girls interacting with each other before they discover magic. It doesn’t take long for the sassy Winnie Sanderson to start a conflict with the people of the town because the Reverend wants her to marry another boy. After refusing, the sisters run away into the Forbidden Forest where they meet another witch who introduces them to magic. 

The first couple minutes appear to point the viewers in the direction of sisterhood and the importance of that prevailing over everything, but that feeling fizzles out as soon as the movie flashes forward to the present day. While “Hocus Pocus” concentrated on the witches’ pursuit of youth and the brother-sister relationship between Max and Dani, “Hocus Pocus 2” fixated on the friendship between three teenage girls. 

Almost three decades have passed when the Sanderson sisters get resurrected by two high school girls who have an innocent fascination with magic. The local magic shop owner in Salem gives two girls named Becca and Izzy a black candle that they light on Halloween night that brings the three infamous witches back to life. Things start to unravel from there as the Sandersons continue their quest for eternal youth, but this time around they are also wanting to attempt a spell that makes them all-powerful. 

Throughout the movie, there are some funny moments while the witches navigate the world 30 years after their last appearance. The issue with some of these jokes is that after the first movie, they are a little repetitive. In “Hocus Pocus”, the Sandersons have already come back from the dead and discovered the modern world. So when they came back again in the second movie, it wasn’t as interesting.

“Hocus Pocus 2” also seemed like it lost sight of what the core message of the movie was. It starts with the focus on sisterhood, then shifts to friendship and resilience between friends before moving back to sisterhood at the end. 

Overall, “Hocus Pocus 2” is a good movie for a quick laugh or something to have on the television in the background, but ultimately lacks the substance and humor that the original “Hocus Pocus” has.