Editor’s Note: For those who haven’t watched Hocus Pocus 2, there are some minor spoilers ahead!
As the self proclaimed Pumpkin Queen of my family, I was elated when I learned that my 6-year-old niece, Reagan, shares my love of the classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus. We have spent hours discussing the best scenes, choosing our favorite sister (Sarah for Reagan, Mary for me), and planning a trip to Salem, Massachusetts to see where it all began. As a ’90s baby, I grew up watching the movie each year at Halloween, and my love for the film lasted well beyond my braces and DIY haircut days. Reagan watched the movie for the first time last year and has since kept it on repeat.
Needless to say, she and I were ecstatic to hear that Disney+ was going to be releasing a sequel to Hocus Pocus this year, and quickly marked September 30th on our calendars. We planned a niece/aunt date night to watch the movie as soon as it came out. Truthfully, I went in with little expectations as it’s very rare a sequel ever holds a candle to the original; especially in this case where the original is a literal masterpiece. Reagan and I were ready to go into this viewing experience with feelings of excitement but a shared understanding that it may not be as great as the first. Well, we can both happily report that we absolutely loved it! Here’s our honest review of Hocus Pocus 2.
What is Hocus Pocus 2 about?
First things first: how do we even have a sequel? The writers had their work cut out for them when they had to find an inventive way to bring the Sanderson sisters back. In case you don’t remember, the first movie ended with the sisters quite literally blowing up and the black flame candle that brought them back was done for. So how did they pull off bringing them back? Essentially, another black flame candle.
A local magic shop owner has been wanting to bring back the sisters ever since witnessing their demise nearly 30 years ago. With the help of the magic spell book housed in his shop, he’s able to recreate the black flame candle and trick two teenagers—Becca and Izzy—into lighting it. Which brings about the return of the Sanderson sisters.
This time around, instead of stealing the youth of children to stay alive, the sisters’ goal is to perform a spell that makes them all powerful. In doing so, Winnie gets a lesson in sacrifice and the importance of family.
How Hocus Pocus 2 compares to the original
A sequel such as this would be incomplete without incorporating aspects of the first movie. The writers did not disappoint; they gifted us with several flashbacks to the first film and incorporated many subtle details paying homage to its predecessor, but the film can still stand on its own.
Fellow Hocus Pocus fans will especially love that the sequel gives us a peek into the Sanderson sisters’ lives in Salem before they became witches. With more backstory on how they became magical, how the love triangle between Winnie, Sarah, and Billy came about, and a bit about their childhood, you really get to see the sisters in a new light.
According to Reagan, Hocus Pocus 2 is “even better than the first one!”
Is Hocus Pocus 2 scary?
Hocus Pocus 2 was a very family-friendly movie and one that I feel can be enjoyed by all. In both my 6-year-old niece’s and my adult opinion, the second movie was actually less scary than the first. Reagan was a little scared when the witches initially came back, but only because the scene was dark. Other than that, there were very few scary moments. Almost all of the movie was upbeat, humorous, and heartwarming—significantly more than the first. They even tackled the “What’s a virgin?” debacle in an appropriate and comical way.
Why we both loved Hocus Pocus 2
What was so great about this movie is that it incorporated parts of the first film without trying to be exactly like it. Reagan and I loved that it was a stand alone story and had an entirely new plot from the first. In fact, Reagan loved it so much that she actually said she liked it more than the original. While I’m not quite that generous with my opinion, I enjoyed it and, like the first, it’s a staple Halloween movie that I plan to watch year after year.
Like the first, there were iconic Bette Midler performances to some familiar tunes in Hocus Pocus 2. Reagan loved the soundtrack so much that she said, “I’m having my mom buy the songs so I can listen to them on my way to school!”
One of our other favorite aspects of the movie was seeing the sisters take on life in 2022—like experiencing a Walgreen’s and encountering Siri for the first time.
Reagan and I agreed that the acting was spectacular. Of course, we knew we could expect greatness from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, but I was especially blown away by some of the new faces in the film; Whitney Peak, Sam Richardson, and Belissa Escobedo.
But the best part of Hocus Pocus 2 was the message of the film. It touched heavily on the importance of family and friendship, and provided a meaningful lesson we can all learn from.
Even though I didn’t allow myself to get my hopes up before watching, overall, I am incredibly happy to share that Reagan and I both loved this movie. If you’re on the fence, I, and especially Reagan, highly recommend you put it at the top of your to-be-watched list (if only to see Mary fly around on some Roombas).