We have officially hit October and “spooky season.” Yes, that’s an actual phrase. Our last review was a FANTASTIC horror film called Barbarian and I highly recommend you see it if you haven’t already. However, we are onto a sequel of a cult classic for Halloween and October. The original Hocus Pocus came out in 1993 and followed the Sanderson sisters (three witches attacking the town of Salem) and a young group trying to rid the city of them. It was fun, cheesy, but dear to a lot of people’s hearts. I remember watching it growing up and having the biggest crush on Vinessa Shaw in the film. Unfortunately, the original heroes aren’t in this what, but we do have the rest of the cast returning. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy all return and this obviously caused a lot of excitement and feeling of nostalgia. Would this sequel live up the original or this too little too late?
Onto to the film.
We open in Salem, Massachusetts in 1653 and met the younger versions of the Sanderson sisters. This is short-lived in the film, but I thought the young versions of all our cast was absolutely wonderful. I could have watched a film with these versions and being perfectly content. We learn how and why the sisters are banished from their town and then see the girls escape into the forbidden forest. This is where we meet another witch called Mother Witch (Waddington) who gives them the magic book from the first film and teaches them spells and how to keep their youthfulness.
We then cut to 2022. This is 29 years after their last resurrection (and the first film) and we meet the sisters we know and love. Winifred (Midler) Sarah (Parker) and Mary (Najimy) all are as fun as I can remember from the first film. We see that a new group of kids lets their curiosity get the best of them and lights ANOTHER black flame candle and poof the witches are back. Here we go again.
Don’t get me wrong. This film is cute and a nice Halloween edition I am sure you’ll eventually watch but it will not live up to the original unfortunately. I hate to compare too much with the first film, but the sequels plot isn’t the best. We see the heroines given a candle for ones birthday. The candle that will bring back the witches??? You’re telling me this isn’t under lock and key. It doesn’t make sense. In the original film, we saw the cast sneak into the Sanderson’s home (now an abandoned museum) and light the candle but NOW the home is a gift shop, and they just sell the candles? I can use my imagination, but I was immediately a little put off. More to come later, but still. Another issue I had was the exclusion of Binx the cat (or some version) and the younger sister played by Thora Birch. She was spunky, and a great foil with the cast members. Binx was funny and the heart of the film. This sequel doesn’t have either returning or new characters to take their place. I enjoyed this but it felt like a pale comparison. If you’re a fan of the first film give it a watch but you’ll want to watch the first film first and maybe after again. This is playing in theaters and on Disney+ I would always suggest the theaters though! The film gets 3 stars solely on the three original witches returning! 3 Stars out of 5