By: Jesse Striewski
The original Hocus Pocus from 1993 was an innocent enough family film from Disney; while not a “hit” at the time, over the years it has since grown to cult status thanks to repeated showings during the Halloween season and seeping its way into pop culture via costumes and various other merchandise and yearly decorations.
Nearly three full decades later, Disney finally had enough foresight to realize the time was right to reunite Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters from the first film for another round of Halloween mischief. If you’ve already seen the original film, then it should come as no surprise just how the three witches appear in Salem again. And just like the first film, they’re put in plenty of familiar fish-out-of-water scenarios with amusing results (the Walgreens scene is fairly ingenious, albeit a shameless cross-promotion all the same) with a group of all new protagonists played by Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham, respectively.
Gone though are the rest of the old cast and characters (aside from Doug Jones, who also returns as the zombie Billy), an unfortunate missed opportunity, as well as director Kenny Ortega’s presence. The effects this time around are also noticeably lazier, and of course, you can’t make a Disney film in 2022 without at least some sort of underlying message of “equality” (though thankfully not overly in-your-face as some others). Overall though, the young newcommers are definitely admirable with what material they have to work with here.
All in all, Hocus Pocus 2 is a fairly harmless adventure, sure to please all the little ghouls and goblins in your haunted house this Halloween.
Rating: 3/5 Stars