The Witches Are Back: Hocus Pocus 2 Review


There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Hocus Pocus sequel, Hocus Pocus 2. This is my honest review of the good and the bad.

The original Hocus Pocus, set in the 90’s, is about teenager Max Dennison and his sister Dani who just moved from Los Angeles to Salem. While trick or treating, they end up at the house of Max’s classmate Allison. They decide to break into the old Sanderson house-turned-museum. Knowing the legend of the Sanderson sisters, Max stupidly lights the black flame candle. This brings back Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson from the dead for one night. Now with the help of a boy turned-immortal-cat, the three kids must stop the Sanderson sisters from becoming immortal themselves. This movie truly is a great one, and one I’d highly recommend you watch if you haven’t.

Both movies feature memorable songs performed by the Sanderson sisters. The original movie’s rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” by John Debney was absolutely iconic. I wish I could say the same about the songs in the second movie. Upon being brought back, the sisters immediately begin “The Witches Are Back”, an original song. This song was a completely unnecessary addition to the movie and quite honestly doesn’t make sense, as they come back from the dead just to perform a song for no one. Then, after losing a Sanderson sister look-alike contest, they sing a revised version of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another”. This scene was completely overdone, as the crowd was put in a trance-like state that felt too fake to enjoy watching.

One of the best parts about Hocus Pocus 2, in my opinion, is how much backstory we get on the Sanderson sisters. Not only do we get to see their childhood, and the beginning of the Billy Butcherson love triangle, we also get to meet their “mother” and see how they became witches. The movie begins with a young Winifred stomping through Salem in a huff. She has been told she has to marry John Pritchett by the Reverend. She refuses and says if she were to marry anyone it would be Billy, who she believed to be her soulmate, due to the one kiss they shared in the graveyard. At her refusal, the Reverend and townspeople try to take her sisters from her. They escape and run for the forbidden woods. They are met by a witch who tries to suck out Sarah’s soul, which of course Winifred will not allow. The witch, their “mother”, gives Winifred her signature spellbook and that is how they became witches.

There is one character in this movie that annoys me to no end, and that’s Gilbert. Gilbert runs the 2022 version of the Sanderson house museum. He is the whole reason the witches are back. He makes a black flame candle and gives it to Becca, the protagonist, for her birthday ritual. All this because he thought he could change the Sanderson sisters so they didn’t have to be evil anymore. When his brilliant plan doesn’t work out, and instead they give him a time limit to gather the things they need for a spell, he digs up Billy Butcherson. He then lies to Billy about the spell he was trying to do and gets him to help gather the supplies, then he betrays Billy by taking his head for the spell, all the while acting like a complete coward. It is baffling to me how he can cause this problem but then expect sympathy.

The amount of things in this movie that make absolutely no sense is shocking. Firstly, I understand that Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker may have aged a little after 30 years, but it doesn’t make sense for the characters to have aged in death. It would have been more believable if this sequel was done 20 years ago. Second, I think it is hilarious that Mary rides Roombas instead of a broom, but because she has just returned as a witch from the 1600’s there is no way she could have known that Roomba’s were anything like a broom. Speaking of Mary, in the original movie Mary speaks out the right side of her mouth. It is one of her defining characteristics. In the sequel she talks out of the left. I don’t even think I have to mention that someone watching Hocus Pocus in Hocus Pocus 2 makes zero sense. There are just too many plot holes.

In conclusion, should they have made this movie? Probably not. Is it worth the watch? I think so.