The Sanderson Sisters Put A Spell On Us Again In 'Hocus Pocus 2'
Updated: Oct 2
The long-awaited sequel is just as nostalgic as we hoped.
The Halloween season isn’t complete without watching Hocus Pocus at least once. The 1993 film is a cult classic and no matter how old you get, it will always hold up as a great Halloween movie. Because of that, the almost 30-year old sequel had a lot to live up to. And let me be the first to say, it did not disappoint.
Hocus Pocus 2, streaming exclusively on Disney+, hit the platform on September 30 — just in time for peak spooky season. The sequel resurrects the Sanderson sisters, Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), who died in the first movie after Max, Allison, and Max’s sister Dani defeated them with the help of human-turned-black cat-turned-human, Thackery Binx. Can there be spoilers for a 29-year-old movie? If so, spoiler alert I guess.
Hocus Pocus 2, is set in Salem in 2022, 29 years after the events in the original. Friends Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) accidentally light the Black Flame candle on All Hallows’ Eve, which brings the Sanderson sisters back to life. Much like the first movie, the Sandersons are out for blood (children’s blood to be exact) to make themselves young and live forever.
We won’t give too much else away from the plot — other than to say it’s perfectly nostalgic, utterly hilarious, and even a little heartfelt. TBH I didn’t expect to get teary-eyed at a Hocus Pocus movie. Also, it’s important to note that Hocus Pocus 2 was directed by Anne Fletcher, and not Kenny Ortega (who directed the first film). This change in direction meant it felt enough like Hocus Pocus, but with new innovations that worked really well.
Of course, when watching a sequel to an age-old favorite, it can be difficult to compare the two. Obviously, we all love Hocus Pocus and were a little worried that this new movie would flop or not live up to the hype. But, I’m here to tell you, it did not ruin the first movie and, in fact, I think I will be adding this to my Halloween watchlist every year.
Let’s get this straight: it’s not the first movie. It will not be as good as the first movie. But, Hocus Pocus 2 is something different, exciting, and good in its own right.
Obviously, the three main women are older and act differently than they did 29 years ago — but I think the unexpected winner of this movie is Najimy. In the original, everyone loved Midler’s and Parker’s characters. In the sequel, Midler is still impeccable, but Parker fell a little flat for me. Najimy, on the other hand, rose to the occasion and gave us the best parts of Mary that we didn’t get to see as often in the first film.
The three young girls, Becca, Izzy, and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), make fun main characters that do just enough without taking away from who we’re really here for: the Sanderson sisters. I loved the new casting additions of Gilbert (Sam Richardson), The Witch Mother (Hannah Waddingham), and Mayor Traske (Tony Hale).
The scene stealers, however, are Young Winifred (Taylor Henderson), Young Mary (Nina Kitchen), and Young Sarah (Juju Journey Brener). Those three embody everything about the Sanderson sisters — down to Mary’s crooked mouth. It was like watching Midler, Najimy, and Parker aged down into little girls.
The musical numbers in the movie may be a point of contention. As a musical theater gal, I loved the additions. I was a little disappointed they didn’t sing “I Put a Spell on You,” but “The Witches Are Back” will be stuck in my head all weekend.
I was also sad that we only saw the return of Billy Butcherson. But, I also like that they didn’t just make the kids from the first movie the parents in the sequel — that’s always a little lackluster. And, obviously, Thackery Binx couldn’t just materialize again from beyond the grave (or could he?).
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Hocus Pocus 2. It was even better than I was hoping it would be, which is always a pleasant surprise. This sequel also gives me hope that Disenchanted will be a winner when it comes out in November.
I’d say Hocus Pocus 2 is a must-watch for any Hocus Pocus fan. It’s the right amount of Hocus Pocus story with some new aspects that insinuate the movie could come back for another round. BTW: stick around after the credits for a scene that teases this theory.
Now, add it to your watchlist before the Sandersons’ have time to make the life potion!