Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

hocus pocus 2 poster 2022 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Decent cast even if they are misused, similar tone to original

Lifeless sequel to a so-so movie, step down in visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Hocus Pocus 2

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures/David Kirschner Productions

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Horror/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  September 30, 2022

MPAA Rating:  PG

hocus pocus 2 izzy becca spell black flame candle whitney peak belissa escobedo

Let’s do some family approved witchcraft!

Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) live in Salem, Massachusetts and enjoy practicing witchcraft…but the third member of the group Cassie Traske (Lilia Buckingham) has seemed to abandon them.  When Becca celebrates her sixteenth birthday on October 31, a candle from Gilbert (Sam Richardson) brings the Sanderson Sisters back to life.  Winnie (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) want to slay Jefry Traske (Tony Hale) whose ancestor banished the Sandersons from Salem…but the magic to kill Traske could mean betraying an ancient promise.

Directed by Anne Fletcher, Hocus Pocus 2 is a family comedy Halloween film.  The movie is a sequel to Hocus Pocus from 1993 and premiered on Disney+ on September 30, 2022.  It received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics.

hocus pocus 2 sanderson sisters bette midler kathy najimy sarah jessica parker

Wait…do we feel sorry for the witches this time? I’m confused…

I wasn’t in the Hocus Pocus generation.  It came out when I was watching “real” horror movies and a kid-friendly Disney movie about witches just wasn’t in my list of movies to see.  Having seen Hocus Pocus a few times now, it still doesn’t do much for me …and Hocus Pocus 2 feels like more of the same with nostalgia heaped on (I also find it weird they did not just way for 2023 for the 30th anniversary).

When you have a sequel to an iconic movie, you get a lot comparisons, and many critics found Hocus Pocus 2 a step down.  It felt to me that Hocus Pocus 2 was just more Disney wackiness.  It was more family friendly than the previous entry and more PC, but the tone and story felt generally the same.  It was a lot of goofiness, but felt like less Sanderson Sisters (which probably was a mistake).

The young cast of the original Hocus Pocus was decent for kid actors, and Whitney Peak and Belissa Escobedo follow in their footsteps.  The movie tries to establish a third actress in Lilia Buckingham, but the script doesn’t tie her character in enough.  Tony Hale is in general fun, but feels rather flat and under-developed and the jock Mike (Froy Gutierrez) is barely a character.  Doug Jones’ Billy Butcherson role is expanded in this film and Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker fit their original characters, but don’t feel fleshed out in this entry.

hocus pocus 2 billy butcherson zombie doug jones

Billy just can’t get a good afterlife rest

The original Hocus Pocus had a lot of atmosphere (along the lines of something like the Trick ’r Treat horror movie).  The movie was like a kid’s perception of Halloween in look and style.  Hocus Pocus 2 tries to deal with the jaded teen of the 2000s and incorporate that into a more modern take on Halloween.  It doesn’t go for the “magical Halloween” approach and feels more commercial.

In general, Hocus Pocus 2 feels like a money grab by Disney and doesn’t have enough spirit.  Halloween is a fun holiday and even as teens or adults, it is about the fun…even if capitalism tries to take control with the sale of candy, yard decorations, and costumes.  Hocus Pocus 2 feels more like the drugstore bought yard decoration Halloween and phony…and that is unfortunate for fans of the original, but some younger kids might enjoy it for a bit.

Related Links:

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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