Hocus Pocus 2

29 years since the Black Flame Candle was last lit, the 17th-century Sanderson sisters are resurrected, and they are looking for revenge. Now it's up to three high school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow's Eve.

  • Released: 2022-11-18
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Stars: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Froy Gutierrez, Tony Hale, Hannah Waddingham, Sam Richardson, Belissa Escobedo, Doug Jones, Juju Journey Brener, Taylor Henderson, Nina Kitchen, David Torres Jr., Ginger Minj, Kornbread Jeté, Kahmora Hall, Skyla Sousa, Aiden Torres, Emma Kaufman, Ryan Rosenthal, Amanda Shepherd
  • Director: Anne Fletcher
  • david_hokey_16 - 24 October 2023
    Tried to Recapture Something that Must Happen Naturally
    The first movie didn't receive great reviews upon release, but that didn't stop it from becoming the cult hit it shall forever be. Sometimes, critics get it wrong and, as they did with the first film, so too did many of them with this one. I honestly believe so many people just love Hocus Pocus so much that they transferred that love into this sequel. It's not a good movie. First, I'll talk about what is good in this movie. The actress that plays Becca does a great job - she owns the role that she is given. Her fellow young actresses also do a great job supporting her. The three veteran actresses do a decent job, as expected. Finally, the intro featuring the young Sanderson sisters is pretty good (extra kudos to the young actress who played Mary in nailing the original character's mannerisms.) In fact, I honestly feel like a sequel to Hocus Pocus would've worked so much better if done entirely as a prequel. We get a good set-up for their story and then it just turns into a derivative effort of the first film. This leads us into everything that doesn't work with the film. As I said, the young actresses did a good job, and while the veteran actresses can act they 1) are almost too over the top in trying to recapture their original performances - Hocus Pocus was a movie that was naturally campy and knew when to shift moods when required; this sequel, however, doesn't know when to be a bit more reserved when necessary. It's almost as if the actresses are playing caricatures of their original roles, and 2) they are quite noticeably older. Now I know some ppl won't like me mentioning this, but every story - even those about magic and such - needs to have a certain realness to it to keep it grounded. Seeing these witches act as if the last thing they remember is the climax of the first film yet appear to be three decades older undoes this. Tony Hale's mayor dad doesn't really know what to be except for a plot point in that he's a descendant of someone the sisters reviled and to set up the kidnapping of his daughter in his heed. Tony Hale is such an amazing actor it's a shame to waste him like that. Making Becca into a young witch is sort of a nice touch in the good vs evil mythos but it overall doesn't work. For one, it soils the original premise that witchcraft wasn't natural (in this universe) but something the sisters sold their souls for and maintained evil deeds to possess. Having Becca claim the book is even more baffling as originally it was an instrument of pure evil bound with literal human skin and helping witches to devour children and commit all kinds of other evil deeds. Having it betray Winifred due to her ignorance and selfishness is an interesting plot point but believing it to be a vehicle for any kind of good is inane. The biggest issue this movie has, overall, however is how derivative it is. It's one thing to try and recapture the wonder of the original film but it relies far too much on the same tropes and writing to the point it doesn't feel original at all. First of all, the sisters are brought back in the exact same way when there was an opportunity to do something even more original and interesting. The details that do differ here fall short as in the original a virgin lights the candle to impress a girl (very believable, very timeless) and in this version it's by a girl who bought it from a guy who somehow was able to recreate a magic candle because blah blah blah insert unbelievable plot point. The original scene of the sisters having their brooms stolen and Sarah and Mary having to use a mop and broom is recreated and while using the swiffer and roomba are fun updates to show the time difference it's just a rehash of a joke we've seen before. The attempts to throw in song and dance routines are a failed (and painfully, obviously forced) attempt to recreate the classic I Put a Spell on You number. There are very few fresh twists in this version which is highly disappointing for something that came out 29 years later. I'm shocked the cat actually didn't turn out to be Binx somehow given how much this movie wants to rip off the original rather than continue it in a new direction. Which leads me to a minor but annoying detail - why would the sisters even try to kill the cat if they thought it might be Binx? They're the ones who cursed him to be immortal thus knowing he cannot die unless their magic does. Overall, this film just didn't work. It borders on being average but the bad just overpowers the good, and it just doesn't work. It's not impossible to take a classic and make a great sequel out of it many years later, but it takes far more effort than what was put into this film, unfortunately.
  • oliviajd-97352 - 11 September 2023
    I wish I never watched this
    I wish I had never watched this unnecessary sequel. Disney completely missed the mark with this one. The original had dark and spooky elements to it, yet remained something kids and adults could watch. This sequel was not dark or spooky at all - just goofy. All the reviews saying that "if you have kids, you'll get it", obviously haven't seen the first one. Because I don't care if you have kids or not, this was not even remotely close to the original vibe. It had so much potential though - the Sanderson Sisters' backstory, the original witch, etc. Those could've been good storylines. But, also, did Disney completely forget that Book was given to Mary by the Devil? Not the witch??? And don't even get me started on all the lame musical numbers. This was horrendous and not fun. I wish I could take back watching it because it spoils the original.
  • beckydobro - 6 January 2023
    Once was enough
    The first Hocus Pocus is a movie I can rewatch any time and never get tired of it, even after three decades. I watched the sequel right after it came out and, since I was expecting a live-action Mulan level failure, I came away thinking the sequel was okay. Then, I watched it a second time with other people and the flaws were much more obvious.

    The humor was probably my least favorite part. It was so over the top, which is way too common these days. The first one was silly, but it felt more theatrical rather than childish and cringey. The first one felt like they gave the actors more freedom to make the characters their own, which is probably why the comedy felt more natural.

    I also think Disney's creative team primarily focuses on their image these days, rather than good storytelling. Sometimes a good movie slips out, but it's the exception, not the rule. With Hocus Pocus 2, it felt like they were trying way too hard to be diverse, like so many other shows. They included diverse characters in a more realistic way than most shows these days, but it felt like that was their main priority. That just leads to bad storytelling because writers are put into a box. I'm part of the LGBT+ community and there was never a point in the first movie where I thought, this would be so much better if there was an obviously gay character, a gay couple briefly shown, and drag queens. I don't appreciate pandering. I just want a good script.

    Also, I wanted more cameos. The witches and Billy were the only good things about this movie (except Billy's carnival excursions (which were done better in Stranger Things season 3 with Alexei), but I wanted others. It makes sense that Max wouldn't have stayed in Salem and I know Thora Birch had scheduling conflicts. But the Dennison parents would be there, Ice and Jay would be there, and Allison would definitely have stayed. She loved Salem.

    To be fair, cameos for the sake of it might not work, but Salem isn't a huge town. It would make sense for the new characters to run into the old ones once in a while. For example, Allison could've been the owner or manager of the museum. The lack of cameos and that end credit scene make it feel like they're trying too hard to create a franchise where there really doesn't need to be one.

    On Christmas Eve, I watched the Christmas Story sequel and I kept thinking, this is what I wanted Hocus Pocus 2 to be. Whatever you think of the Christmas Story sequel, it's hard to deny it had the same energy as the first one, which is the only thing I wanted for Hocus Pocus 2.
  • UniqueParticle - 23 November 2022
    Huge disappointment compared to the original
    The only good things is bringing back the 3 Sanderson sisters and the nostalgia most of it is bad. The acting is terrible throughout, so is the directing, and it's not funny mostly awkward! I don't know how people enjoyed this I usually do with most things I watch but this is unbearable I'll still finish but I wouldn't recommend it. Sam Richardson is awesome in most anything that's for sure just not in this. At least 80% of Hoscus Pocus 2 is bad every scene is annoying and I really hate the acting! I'm curious if others were frustrated with this mess of a sequel. Sad cause I wanted to like this and was expecting a better experience.
  • benjaminwest-242 - 12 November 2022
    A skippable return to Salem
    Hocus Pocus 2 is a disappointing sequel. That said, Midler, Najimy, and Parker still deliver fun performances as the Sanderson sisters. The trio highlight the film, it being clear how greatly they enjoy returning to their respective roles. Their acts are additionally responsible for most, if not all, of the comedy that does work. Unfortunately, even their hilarity often fails, between simply bad jokes and blatant plays off of pure nostalgia. This includes various song-dance numbers that only prove cringeworthy. Where the film takes the Sandersons by its end is not that satisfactory, either, as a true climax is essentially nonexistent. It ultimately seems that the filmmakers slightly misunderstood what fans of the original liked about the witches. All considered, the movie is a combination of bad ideas and good ideas lacking execution. Seeing a younger version of the sisters is interesting, but it barely works. The introduction of three teenage girl protagonists who dabble in witchcraft is a good set up, but their development gets bogged down by unnecessary conflicts and unnecessary characters. Various such subplots make the story a largely unexciting mess of coincidences and clichés. This absolutely relates to the ridiculous way the screenplay brings the Sanderson sisters back, too. In-your-face ad placement does not help, either. Altogether, Hocus Pocus 2 is a skippable film, even for fans of the original.
  • cardsrock - 1 November 2022
    Pretty much what it needs to be
    This delivers the spooky vibes, entertaining cast, and decent laughs that most people were hoping for in this very late sequel. It retains the spirit of the original pretty well. The new kids are alright; nothing great, but they don't drag the movie down too much. The story is probably the biggest issue. There's not much substance or really much going on, however there's enough fun that you can overlook the flimsy plot. I will also say it's kind of crazy how cheap this movie looks given the sizable budget it likely had.

    Hocus Pocus 2 was a wise business decision for Disney since this will likely continue to do ridiculous numbers on streaming given it's just good enough to warrant a recommendation.