They don’t make them like they used to, Halloween movies I mean. Not horror movies or thrillers, I mean movies centred around Halloween. Of course, we have the affairs of Jamie Lee Curtis going head to head with Michael Myers but it’s not really a family-friendly event is it? As a child who grew up enamoured watching the Halloween movies Disney Channel offered, it’s safe to say I have a very strong opinion on what a good family-friendly Halloween movie looks like. Movies like the ‘Halloweentown‘ series, ‘Twitches‘ and even the criminally underrated ‘Mom’s Got A Date With A Vampire’ all embrace exactly what they’re supposed to be, cheesy, campy and spooky enough to entice kids to the feeling of horror without scaring them away. Yes, there is the exception of ‘Don’t Look Under The Bed’ but that’s for another day. The reason Disney Channel is such a crucial talking point in regards to ‘Hocus Pocus’ is that this movie feels exactly like a DCOM and I mean that in the best way possible.
spoilers for ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ are featured in this movie.
Truth be told, some of you might even gasp when I say this but the first ‘Hocus Pocus‘ really isn’t all it’s gassed up to be. It is a strange little movie that I can’t help but admire how much people love but I myself never really got it. The news of a sequel while unsurprising did capture my attention when I saw that nostalgic trailer a few weeks ago. When it was socially acceptable to say that Summer was over, I got myself a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, lit up some candles and sat on the couch to watch this sequel. To my surprise, this was the sequel I didn’t know I needed as it’s not only better than the original, it actually maintains that old-fashioned spirit. It emulates that cheesy, cosy and heavily atmospheric feel of those old movies I loved watching perfectly. It actually blew me away because, for the longest time, I thought this type of movie was gone. But alas, here we are with the perfect-looking orange-infested town getting ready for Halloween, black candles, magic books and spells and candy apples. ‘Hocus Pocus 2‘ perfectly understands why we love Halloween and it celebrates it in the most endearing way.
The fear of new characters aiding legacy characters and all that isn’t something I was really scared of, mostly because the original protagonists were, well I can’t even remember their names, let’s just say that. Here, however, we have a clever foil to the Sanderson Sisters in the form of Becca, Izzy and Cassie. The message of sisterhood and friendship was quite charming to me with how it was depicted between these two trios. I felt invested in both of them and considering the type of movie this is, I was quite surprised. The actors are very charming even when the script tests with some truly childish lines, they make it work. The true stars, as expected, are the Sanderson Sisters themselves who get reintroduced to us better than ever. The opening scene with the younger versions was cute but the real fun begins when the ones we know enter the scene. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy bring the same amount of power to this sequel as they did in the original. Their comedic timing, physical humour and charisma is perhaps even better here. The witches exploring 2022 life with electricity and modern advancements was genuinely funny, I chuckled multiple times and I did not expect that. It’s weird though because the nineties weren’t that far off, it’s crazy how they didn’t play into that aspect.
While I liked the movie a lot overall, it was clear as day that the best part of it was the Sanderson Sisters. Their rampage in town up until the third act was a blast. I was very sceptical of another musical number but I’d say their cover ‘One Way Or Another‘ was great, not as great as the iconic ‘I’ll Put A Spell On You‘ from the first movie but enjoyable nevertheless. The bit with the Roombas and how they eventually helped them get out of the protective salt circle was genius. The entire sequence in the store with the beauty products alone was worth making this movie. I love how they kept the humour dark and twisted for them like thinking a face mask is the child of a newborn and then eating a big piece out of it, like okay Disney! With other characters, I found them decent enough to support the movie and the trio like Gilbert and Tony Hale’s character who were both endearing, especially the latter and his candy apple bit. That being said I do feel like this movie focuses on them a little too much and personally, I think a shorter ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ is a better ‘Hocus Pocus 2’.
Granted, seeing as I’m not a fan of the original ‘Hocus Pocus‘, some fans of the original might disagree when I say this is better movie but considering my expectations and the list of criteria the movie had to meet, I’d say this movie was an easy win. I can definitely see myself revisiting this when I’m in the need of a ‘Hocus Pocus‘ fix. I would definitely watch a third, shorter and more wicked movie! Make it a trilogy!
‘Hocus Pocus 2‘ is now streaming on Disney+.