Hocus Pocus 2 Review: A Simple Bewitching

Nearly 30 years after the original, the witches are finally back! Hocus Pocus 2 focuses on the Sanderson Sisters returning to Salem to reclaim their power and live past the sunrise. Fans of the original will get more or less what they liked in the first place.

Hocus Pocus 2 Review: A Simple Bewitching

It seems like an impossible path for Hocus Pocus to get a sequel, but in hindsight it makes sense. While the movie didn’t do well critically and commercially, it gained a strong cult following. It soon became a staple for the Halloween season as it aired constantly when I was younger on the Disney Channel and ABC Family (now called FreeForm.) The fanbase became so big that Disney World decided to put on an annual theme show called Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular during the fall season. With this much attention, fans have clamored for Disney to finally give us a sequel. Our spell came true as Hocus Pocus 2 has what fans loved about the original film.

Hocus Pocus 2 is now exclusively streaming on Disney+.

Hocus Pocus 2 | Official Trailer | Disney+

Story: Running Amok

Hocus Pocus 2 is set years after the first movie as Salem is celebrating Halloween again. Two aspiring Wiccans, Becca and Izzy, accidentally light up the black candle to bring the Sanderson Sisters back. It’s up to them to stop the sisters from gaining more power and wreaking havoc over Salem. Thankfully, the sequel isn’t just a series of moments where they wink at the audience and invoke nostalgia for the original. Granted we do get those moments, but they don’t feel overbearing.

It more or less follows the same beats from the first movie which isn’t a bad thing. Except this time, we get a lot more of the witches than we did before. There’s even a little origin story with the introduction and while not necessary, it’s still enjoyable. The thing that left me scratching my head is the addition of Hannah Waddingham in this movie. Waddingham is obviously fantastic, but she’s in one scene. And with how the marketing is, you would have expected her to be in it a lot more.

I will say that the movie has such an odd product placement with Walgreens becoming a plot point. The writers really focused on centering a lot of the beats and jokes when the Sanderson Sisters go to the pharmacy. Honestly, the jokes featured did get some chuckles out of me, but it left me with a feeling of meh. Even the ending line is a reference of wanting to go to Walgreens. If you’re going to do a product placement then don’t be this obvious with it.

You ever wanted to see the Sanderson Sisters at Walgreens? Yeah me neither.

You ever wanted to see the Sanderson Sisters at Walgreens? Yeah me neither.

Characters & Performances: The Witches Are Back

As mentioned before, the Sanderson Sisters are in it a lot more and they’re easily the best part of the movie. On paper, their lines and scenes shouldn’t be that funny. The jokes are basic and you can see the punchline coming a mile away. But what elevates it to the highest level is the performances. These actresses put their all into this movie and turn mundane lines into gold. Even after all these years, they still don’t miss a beat and have wonderful chemistry with each other.

The rest of the cast does alright as the writing is the same for all. They do an okay job, but it’s nothing that stands out. There’s two expectations with this as Tony Hale and Doug Jones kill it. You can Tony Hale anything and he’ll knock it out of the park. Even with a dumb side plot of him wanting a caramel apple, you’ll still be drawn to him. Then with Doug Jones, I’m happy he has a lot more lines. He only got a couple from the last movie as Billy the Zombie with his mouth zipped shut. Now he’s having full dialogue and showing why he isn’t only a creature makeup actor.

Hocus Pocus 2 | Forty | Disney+

Cinematography & Sound: Wicked Tunes

There’s one location that I think is perfect for the Halloween season and that’s the forbidden woods. You know it’s a set, but that doesn’t stop it from being iconic. The fall night that has a chill in the air and leaves on the ground. Only light is in the air and it’s from the glow of the huge full moon. Some might see it as honky, but it’s cheesy enough to conjure a strong memory of the holiday.

Now speaking of memory, a lot of fans think of the iconic “I Put a Spell On You” number that Bette Midler sang in Hocus Pocus. Expectations are high and I think it succeeds. We actually get two numbers, one original and one cover. They’re both equally delightful and campy. I mean we get Bette Midler singing “One Way or Another” as that should be worth a watch alone.

Light the candle

Light the candle.

Editing & Pacing: The Spell Ends Abruptly 

Throughout the movie, it did maintain a simple, but nice flow to it. The witches come back, jokes ensue, the protagonists try to stop, and even more hijinxs happen. Then the ending tries to have an emotional beat with Winnie that didn’t really land for me. Only because this is the first time we’re seeing this side of her and it feels forced for the climax. Then afterwards, it just sort of ends. If they build up more to it then maybe it would have hit better, but it felt like the movie was out of gas.

Hocus Pocus 2 isn’t going to persuade any detractors of the first movie. It’s more for the fans that kept the movie fandom alive in the first place. You’ll have an enjoyable time with everyone’s favorite witches.
  • The Sanderson Sisters
  • Doug Jones
  • Song Sequences
  • Beautiful Location with the Woods
  • Waste of Hannah Waddingham
  • It just sort of ends.
  • Walgreens

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>