Hocus Pocus 2 tries its best to live up to the original’s nostalgia


Courtesy of Disney

THE WITCHES ARE BACK: Sarah, Winifred, and Mary are seeking to look younger again. The newest Disney movie, Hocus Pocus 2, was released on Sept. 30, 2022 on the streaming service Disney+. The movie is a sequel to the original Hocus Pocus which came out 29 years ago and has been a hit movie ever since, due to it being shown numerous times on T.V. every October. This movie introduces viewers to a new group of teens who accidentally bring the witches back to present-day Salem, and chaos ensues.

Spoilers Ahead!

The sequel to the original Hocus Pocus was a little bit of a let down in my opinion. Many fans, myself included, have been waiting to see the Sanderson Sisters back in action. However, like most sequels, this newest Disney film did not have the same nostalgic feeling.

The film, directed by Anne Fletcher, introduces a new group of teens: Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham). Becca and Izzy accidentally bring the supernatural Sanderson Sisters back to life while performing their yearly Halloween night ritual. Chaos ensues as the girls race to stop the witches from kidnapping the town’s mayor and casting an immortality spell that would make the witches all-powerful. Simultaneously, the girls are also trying to make amends with their former friend, the mayor’s daughter, Cassie.

It was a comedic movie with a lighthearted ending, but the storyline was hard to follow. The beginning provided a backstory for the Sanderson Sisters that made me see them in a different way. Once the present-day storyline started, the whole movie became chaotic. Trying to mold Hocus Pocus for a new generation was a hard task, and Disney did not hit the mark.

“Like many fan favorite follow-ups, Hocus Pocus 2 is stuck, trapped somewhere between different times, audiences and tones, trying to do so much yet, in this instance, achieving so very little,” Benjamin Lee from The Guardian said.

Despite this, it was a delight to see Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy back on my T.V. screen. They brought the same dumbwitted, quirky, and sometimes cringey energy from the first movie. But this new storyline portrayed them in a softer way. Instead of being villains who were nourished and re-energized by inhaling the lives’ of children, they focused more on the power of sisterhood.

My favorite part of the movie was the sweet friendship between Gilbert, the local historian and magic shop owner, and Billy Butcherson. Even though they are supporting characters, their side storyline added a special touch to the movie. Viewers got to know more about Billy and his connection with the Sanderson Sisters. Another one of my favorite scenes was the hidden nod to the original Hocus Pocus. As the Sanderson Sisters were flying through town trying to find the mayor, the camera panned inside a house where a couple was watching Hocus Pocus on T.V. I love little Easter eggs like this, and thought this was a clever way of integrating the original into the sequel.

There was one scene in particular that really made me think. Becca and Izzy confront Cassie, along with her boyfriend Mike, about why she has not been hanging out with them. Cassie explains that she has been trying to still spend time with them, but they never want to hang out with Mike and his friends. Mike is always making fun of how Becca and Izzy are into the supernatural and calls them weird, but Mike confesses that he was only trying to make conversation with them. He did not realize that the way he talked to them came across as rude. This made me wonder if people do not always realize when they are being mean, and it made me think about the society we live in.

Hocus Pocus 2 is one of those movies that you have to watch to fully understand what other people are talking about and to form your own opinions. It may be hard to get through, but you will be so confused with the storyline that you will be hooked until the end trying to make sense of the story.

With Halloween around the corner, I highly believe that many people will be watching Hocus Pocus 2 excited to see the long awaited sequel and potentially expecting it to become another classic. Next Halloween, I doubt they will be watching it again.