Was “Hocus Pocus 2” as bewitching as the original?



The three Sanderson sisters stand in Walgreens after being resurrected.

Juliana Findeis, The Delphi Staff

On Sept. 31, the long awaited ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ was released on Disney+ just in time for the Halloween season. The original cast is back along with new protagonists, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo).

As the film begins, the Halloween spirit is in the air and Becca is getting ready to celebrate her birthday with a witchy ritual. This quickly turns into a nightmare from 29 years ago when the Sanderson sisters are resurrected. ‘Hocus Pocus’ veterans Bette Midler (Winifred Sanderson), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah Sadnerson), Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson) and Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson) are back again, and with the original cast returning, fans expected this movie to be just as thrilling as the first. However, it disappointed.

The movie created a funny persona for the Sanderson sisters than a scary one. This really took away from the movie since the sense of suspense from the first movie was gone.

The movie was also trying too hard to be on top of modern trends in order to connect with a modern audience. A perfect example of this is when a group of girls met the Sanderson sisters and one of the girls had a fidget-toy phone case. Another was when Mary Sanderson was flying on roombas instead of her vacuum.

While the movie doesn’t create any suspense or worry surrounding the protagonists, it does do a few things right. It provides a backstory for the sisters, adds diversity and shifts the focus of the movie.

The new characters are more diverse, and the theme of the film has switched from sibling bonds and teen romance to friendship. The director does a good job in showing how friendships change throughout time and how old friends can become friends again. ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ does this while adding a diverse cast and incorporating modern ideas.

The Sanderson Sisters’ mysterious background was also shown in the movie’s opening scene. The origin story of this coven was never revealed in the original film. In ‘Hocus Pocus 2,’ the audience gets a glimpse at the young sisters’ lives before becoming witches. These roles were played by Juju Journey Brener (young Sarah Sanderson), Taylor Paige Henderson (young Winifred Sanderson) and Nina Kitchen (young Mary Sanderson).

Many Easter eggs alluding to the first ‘Hocus Pocus’ are present throughout the movie, adding a feeling of nostalgia. Seeing young kids run by in costumes from the original film or extras watching the original movie made ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ more engaging.

‘Hocus Pocus 2’ was the number one movie premiere in Disney+ history, but the movie does not deliver everything fans were hoping for. While the plot twists and original cast kept the movie interesting, ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ caters more to kids, losing the tone of the original movie.  While this  movie had its faults, the ending hinted at another sequel, so maybe Disney will redeem itself with the next chapter.

2 out of 5 stars

Director: Anne Fletcher

Writer: Jen D’Angelo

Rating: PG

Running Time: 1h 43m

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy