Conner’s Critique: Hocus Pocus 2

Living in Los Angeles has its perks, and one of those perks is getting to attend movie previews. When I got the invitation to see Hocus Pocus 2, I was floored. Hocus Pocus was a Halloween go-to every year in my house — and still is! Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a campy 90s Halloween-themed comedy. Many years after the initial 1993 release of the classic movie, a sequel in the form of a book was released that followed Max and Allison’s daughter as she encounters the Sanderson sisters just like her parents did. It was…. not good. So when I got that invitation to the sequel movie, I was a combination of excited and terrified.

Would the movie be like the book? Even if the story was different from the book, would it disappoint? As always we cover our reviews by story, acting, and overall!

Story 9/10

The story followed a trio of teenage girls in high school who are witches themselves, but more in the modern sense. We have the typical high school drama, where one of the three girls is being iced out of the group by the others because she was spending too much time with her new boyfriend, who is a total Chad. Despite this, the story does pass the Bechdel test, as it’s not actually at all about the boyfriend. He’s just a funny background idiot who exists for laughs, and that concept is quite entertaining in this climate. The girls are tricked into lighting the black flame candle, releasing the Sanderson sisters yet again. You get to see a really good amount of back story for the sisters, and it’s all fantastic and fun.

Acting 10/10

All the main characters are great at what they do. I was surprised to see a supporting character in Tony Hale (Jefry Trask), who is well known for his comedy roles like Buster Bluth in Arrested Development. He played the father of one of the girls, and he was incredible. That character was a true goofball, and I feel so sad that he didn’t get his candy apple.

Last but not least, the original Sanderson sisters themselves, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker, brought back exactly what they left in the original. A sense of wonder and mystery, along with a new understanding of why they are the way they are, and the sadness that comes with that knowledge when you witness their defeat.

Overall 10/10

This is definitely a watch, buy, keep. The story and acting make for a truly enjoyable movie. It’s great for families and kids, and is even better for the old farts who were kids when the first one came out. I liked that the movie stands on its own without needing a love interest to hold it up, and each female character is fleshed out instead of cookie-cutter. The only cookie-cutter character is the doofy boyfriend, who is just there for laughs anyways.

Conner Monica’s Final Thoughts

While I started this adventure scared and excited, I came out the other end thrilled and relieved. This is not the book. This is not a bad sequel, as you very frequently see in Hollywood. This is a uniquely great movie.

“This isn’t the same Hocus Pocus from the 90s. It’s not better or worse, but I would say it’s just as good as the original and sacrifices nothing to get there.”

It expertly walks the line between too much and not enough fan service, has the perfect amount of nostalgia without being the same movie rehashed in a new era, and keeps the whimsy and magic of the original but brought into 2022. This isn’t the same Hocus Pocus from the 90s. It’s not better or worse, but I would say it’s just as good as the original and sacrifices nothing to get there.

Watch it, buy it, rent it, and add it to your annual Halloween movie-a-thon. Because this is worth every second.

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