Hocus Pocus 2 Spells Trouble for Disney



The trio runs amok on Halloween night 29 years later.

Anush Melikyan, Section Editor

After 29 years, the Sanderson sisters run amok yet again. The highly anticipated Hocus Pocus 2 premiered on Disney+ on  September 30th bringing in three new high school students in Salem, Massachusetts to take on the infamous sister trio from wreaking havoc before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.

The sequel manages to play on the nostalgia factor around the movie with flashbacks to the original, while also pushing the journey for Hocus Pocus to continue.  Like many fan-favorite follow-ups, the movie is stuck between different times, audiences, and tones. The movie tries to do so much, yet in this instance, it falls so short. It aims to appeal to the old diehards while being approachable to newcomers, a task that’s not completely impossible, yet something the movie struggles with regardless. The sequel seems to lack soul, propulsion, or even bare necessity, the movie exists simply because it could not because it should. 

The movie takes us back to the origins of the witch sisters portrayed by the original cast Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. Viewers get a glimpse of the sisters as children and expelled by locals for being unconventional, refusing marriage, and finding solace in the woods — and the witch who takes them under her wing to train them. This is significantly different from the original where they are shown as villains sucking the life out of children while here they are portrayed as strong, independent ladies, which seems like a strange softening to the characters. 

The movie is disappointingly flat. It is anything but a sequel. The movie follows the same plot points as the original, functioning more as a remake rather than a movie that builds up upon the previous. What should have been a 90-minute bewitching movie, lost its sparkle in the second half. As the teen leads, Whitney Peake and Belissa Escobedo are engaging but have little to work with. None of the new characters are engaging; few are given any lines that are remotely close to a joke. As the story progresses, the energy of the earlier scenes are bogged down in Harry Potter-esque action/adventure, complete with dueling lighting battles in an unlit forest. Alongside this,  the Walgreens scene within the movie felt so aggressively branded, it felt like a Superbowl ad. 

The movie accomplishes the goal of being approachable to newcomers yet as a returning viewer who is familiar with the story it lacks the sparkle and interest that a sequel should possess. Nonetheless, the movie delivers on the aspect of nostalgia even if the characters lack the boost they deserve.