It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

Such a glorious movie. Makes me sick!

At midnight on Sept. 30, the sequel to the Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus” was released on Disney+. The expectations that I had for this movie were on the floor. “Hocus Pocus” is not only one of my favorite Halloween movies, it is one of my favorite movies overall. This movie came out in 1993 and was filmed in Salem, Massachusetts. The atmosphere that this movie emanates is what made it so successful and what made viewers continue to come back. I believe that many incredible movies have been ruined by their continuation films, so I was apprehensive to watch this movie’s sequel.
The movie begins with a flashback of the witches’ lives when they were young in the 1600s. Here, they meet a witch that teaches them to become witches themselves. After this, the time changes to the present day, and we are introduced to three high school girls who are interested in witchcraft and astrology. It is the birthday of the main character, Becca, so her and her best friend Izzy participate in the birthday ritual that they do every year. With this, they accidentally bring the witches back from the dead, creating a series of events where the witches once again wreak havoc on Salem.
When the movie first started, I was very nervous about the quality of it. It began with the flashback to the sisters’ lives before becoming witches. The acting in the beginning of the movie was extremely theatrical and overall hard to watch. A few minutes in, the sisters went into the woods and met the witch that ends up teaching them to be witches. Here they used an excessive amount of special effects to show her powers, which I didn’t enjoy. It looked tacky and was different from the energy that we got from the original. I got the impression that they were trying to modernize the sequel too much to the point that it lost the charm from the first movie.
As the film progressed, I became much more interested. Once the time reached present day, it improved immensely. It followed Becca and her friends’ lives in high school and it was interesting to see very different characters going through their lives. The high schoolers in this movie all came from extremely different crowds, creating an accurate high school experience. Many movies involving teenagers just show the “nerds” or “jocks”, but here many different groups were represented. This added to the comedy and intrigue of the movie. It was also interesting to see how different teenagers are in 2022 in comparison to how they were in 1993. The differences in their behaviors and personalities were very evident and their adolescent experiences greatly opposed each other.
Although I enjoyed the witches navigating life in 1993, it was amusing to see them go through life in 2022. When the witches went to the drug store with Becca and Izzy, the young girls told the sisters about anti-aging serums and talked about them as if they were magic, in a way that the witches could understand. I liked seeing elements like this one in the sequel because in 1993, things like skincare weren’t as popular as they are today. This encourages the teenage audience to watch the sequel.
The target audience for the original movie was children and young teens, given that it was rated PG. Thirty years later, they hoped to reach those that were young when the first movie came out, and to introduce a new annual Halloween watch for a younger generation. They reached more people than just what was expected because of their use of teenage characters.
There was a clear connection between Becca, Izzy and Cassie, to Winifred, Mary and Sarah. Although the correlation between Becca and Winnifred was clear with them as the leaders of the groups, it was left up to the audience’s interpretation which of the other women connected. I liked the accessibility and creativity that this left for the viewers, showing one of the many positives of a sequel.
This allows the audience to make countless connections to the original movie, constantly comparing and contrasting characters and plot points. The overall movie had consistent themes of friendship and sisterhood, which created a more sentimental feel than the first movie. The first movie ended on a happy, resolving note as well, but in this sequel it showed a new side of the witches, and you got to see how much they cared about one another.
I enjoyed how concluding the movie seemed to be. It answered all of the questions that the first movie left us to wonder, and had a final resolution at the end that really tied it all together. The ending felt very final and secure, so I think the sequel was a positive addition to the original movie. I hope that they don’t make a third movie because it would be too different, and wouldn’t have the same effect as these movies, especially if they chose to make a third movie without the Sanderson sisters.
Overall, I would highly recommend this sequel to avid Halloween and “Hocus Pocus” fans. Although it had the energy of a current movie instead of the atmosphere that was developed in the first movie, it was a fun, exciting twist on a Halloween classic. It included many comical and emotional elements, with a true heartwarming story of friendship and witchcraft.