Hocus Pocus was a guilty pleasure for me when it first came out back in the 90s. I was a fan of Eerie, Indiana, a Saturday morning live-action program starring Omri Katz. Katz played Max in the original and that led me to see the movie. In fact, I remember Hocus Pocus being the last film I had seen at our local drive-in theater.
When I heard about a sequel coming on Disney +, some 30 years later, I was iffy about it. I have seen way too many sequels that have come decades later that were failures and horrendous movies. However, the summer of the success of Top Gun: Maverick potentially changed the narrative of long time sequels.
Hocus Pocus 2 was released this weekend on Disney + with the Sanderson sisters all returning for the movie. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy made it back for the sequel, finding the sisters returning to Salem once again.
The basic story was similar to the original. The Sanderson sisters were accidentally resurrected by the lighting of the dark flame candle. In this case, two sixteen teens, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), who would perform rituals in the forest, were tricked into lighting the candle by magic shop owner Gilbert (Sam Richardson). The Sanderson sisters came back and began to try and cast a spell to save themselves from being destroyed at sunrise.
The film was absolutely full of cheese. There were silly moments and moments of full nostalgia. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy were so dedicated to their characters that the cheesy nature of many of the scenes worked. If this was not a Hocus Pocus sequel, I’m not sure this would have been as entertaining as I thought it was.
It started off showing the young versions of the Sandersons and how they became witches. It was an interesting opening that paid off well in the finale. There were two songs used in the film, one a parody of Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” which was altered into “The Witches are Back” and two, “One Way or Another” by Blondie. It was silly that these characters knew the songs, but that is the campy factor that can be overlooked because it was so entertaining.
I have to say, I really loved the ending of the movie. Of course, no spoilers, but I thought the resolution of the story was both original and unexpected. And it worked with what we saw in the opening.
If you are a fan of the first Hocus Pocus, Hocus Pocus 2 will be a lot of fun and a neat throwback to a cult classic. If you do not enjoy the first film, the sequel will not be your cup of tea. For me, I enjoyed the film and had a great time watching it. Sure, it is not an Oscar winner, but a double feature with the original would be a great way to spend some Halloween fests.