Fix: Halloween, 90s nostalgia, campy cinema
It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallows’ Eve.
*Winifred Sanderson voice*
SISTAAAAHS CASH GRAAAAAB!!!!
It’s been 29 years since Disney took advantage of this property that people Of A Certain Age are supremely nostalgic for (in spite of the movie’s mediocrity*), so yeah, the Sanderson Sisters are back! And teens Becca and Izzy, who have been dabbling in witchcraft, seem to be the only people standing between them and the total destruction of Salem.
*I’m sorry but it’s true. Hocus Pocus is not a good movie. But you know what helps? Our drinking game!!!
Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah, Bette Midler as Winifred, Kathy Najimy as Mary
I gotta give these ladies credit; they clearly made their best attempt at slipping back into the same roles, including certain mannerisms and personality tics. But god I hope the paycheck was worth it because y’all, it’s downright embarrassing. We accept their 1993 performances because that was 1993! But it’s almost 30 years later, and shit hasn’t aged well (I’m not even talking about the actors’ appearance because they legit look great). These characters are cartoons, and their exaggerated reactions and general idiocy are peak cringe.
Lilia Buckingham as Cassie, Whitney Peak as Becca, Belissa Escobedo as Izzy
Alongside the Sanderson sisters, Becca is the star of the film, and Whitney Peak does a great job with the script she’s got—she’s relatable and doesn’t fall into the I’M A DISNEY STAR JUST TYING ON A BIB BEFORE I CHEW ON THIS SCENERY trap. I dug the storyline of Becca and Izzy being estranged from Cassie because she kinda dropped them for her boyfriend, and all three characters are genuinely sweet if not a bit flat.
Rounding out the cast are Sam Richardson as Gilbert, the owner of the magic shop who inexplicably thinks the Sanderson sisters are, like, not evil?; Froy Gutierrez (from Cruel Summer!!) as Cassie’s doofus boyfriend; Tony Hale as Cassie’s dad and the town mayor, who just freaking went for it in a way that frankly I respect; Hannah Waddingham in a cameo looking gorgeous; and LEGEND DOUG JONES reprising his role as Billy Butcherson!!!
Couch-Sharing Capability: Gather Thou Coven
cash grab film is meant to be watched with fellow Hocus Pocus fans. How else can you enjoy the incredibly obvious callbacks?! And for the few bits that are actually funny (the skin care aisle), you’ll want someone to cackle with. I regrettably watched the movie alone, so when I yelled out loud, “WHY DOES BECCA KEEP CALLING CASSIE INSTEAD OF TEXTING LIKE A NORMAL TEEN?!!” there was no one to answer me.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Witches’ Brew
Whether you mix up a recipe from your “magic book” or just pour yourself a glass of
child blood wine, I assure you that alcohol can only enhance your experience. It will certainly lessen the pain of embarrassment you are guaranteed to feel for the three adult, highly talented, and award-winning actors straight up phoning it in.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Amok! Amok! Amok!
I mean, if you want to watch this, I think you know what you’re in for. It’s campy (and not in a fun way); it’s derivative; it’s just… bad. But similar to eating a ton of shitty candy on Halloween, it might be exactly the thing you desire to celebrate spooky season.
5 thoughts on “Hocus Pocus 2”
Aside from the not-great writing, what really makes this sequel bland is: I remember reading somewhere that Disney is in this phase of its storytelling where it’s obsessed with making the villains NOT villains. Like “oh, they’re a villain but it’s only because they’re MISUNDERSTOOD. Or secretly they are good and just never got a chance to SHOW it.” Like sure, it’s fun to subvert that storytelling tick once in a while, and in movies like ENCANTO there’s enough there that there’s no reason for anyone to be a “villain”, but it does get tiresome when EVERY bad guy has some grand childhood trauma excuse for their bad behavior, or it’s super easy to turn them “nice” with a kind word, or it’s simply the power of sisterly love (in this case) that was all Winnifred needed in order to suddenly stop craving the power to murder all of Salem. Yet in the first movie (which for the sisters happened, like, yesterday) she literally tells Max that he’s an idiot for offering his life for his sister’s, and now here she is doing the same thing. And you can tell me it’s just because she finally realized she could lose them or whatever, but I don’t buy that. It’s not earned from the storytelling. It really just feels like a cop-out because Disney didn’t want to tell a story about three children-eating witches–and that’s fine if they don’t, but then just don’t do a sequel ABOUT three children-eating witches. Leave it in the past. *steps off soap box*
AMEN AMEN AMEN (can you tell I’m doing an amok amok amok bit?). Completely agree, like the dude bringing back the witches because they’re misunderstood even though they were definitely gonna kill the whole town?! It’s just silly. Let villains be villains! That’s the fun of it!
Did Sarah Jessica Parker completely forget how to act? They were all bad but she was horrendous.
When the kid version of your character is a better* actor than you, a person with decades of experience, then it’s aaaall about the paycheck.
*Relatively speaking. Let’s be honest, the kids were Classic Disney Scenery Chewers.
You speak the truth. And… I also read the story as a passing on of the torch. The witches and the 90s are gone and it’s time to go into the new, with new faces and more diversity and more inclusion. In that sense, I’d say this is a reboot I liked more than most…but reboots as a genre are a minefield of bad, bad, bad, so that’s not saying much.