** This article contains minor spoilers for Hocus Pocus 2**
The spookiest time of the year has officially begun! Time to whip out the Halloween decorations, make some fun treats and spicy meals, and settle down to enjoy some great Halloween movies. For families, there is no better place to go to watch Halloween movies than Disney+, where the list seems nearly endless. There’s everything from classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad to Disney Channel classics like Halloweentown and Under Wraps.
And now Disney+ has a brand-new movie you can add to your Halloween line-up — Hocus Pocus 2.
Hocus Pocus 2 tells the story of Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) — two teenage girls who accidentally bring the Sanderson sisters back to life on Halloween. Of course, Mary, Winifred, and Sarah want to stick around this time, so, once again, they decide to brew the potion of life and suck the lives out of the children of Salem. However, when they realize that may not be enough, Winifred decides to do a spell she was warned against — one that will make her all-powerful.
In order to fulfill the spell’s requirements, Winifred puts a curse on Gilbert — a man who has turned the Sanderson house into a magic shop and is more involved than anybody knows. Even though Winifred was warned against the spell, the price that she must pay is one that she was not ready for.
Hocus Pocus 2 sees Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker return as Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson. The sequel is full of music, comedy, and, of course, lots of magic.
Let me be blunt right off the bat. Hocus Pocus 2 is not as amazing as the original. But, then again, sequels are rarely as good as the original. That being said, the movie is one that I will definitely be watching again. It is fun and funny, with enough nostalgia to make you smile at the memories, but not so much that the movie is dominated by the old storyline.
The new characters introduced are fun to watch, and their storyline is close to the one from the first film, but there are new twists and new jokes — but the adults in Salem are almost just as clueless as the ones from Hocus Pocus — except for Gilbert (played by Sam Richardson). Tony Hale was the perfect choice for Mayor Traske — the mayor of Salem — as well as his ancestor, the Reverend Traske, who knew the Sanderson sisters long ago.
One of the really great parts of Hocus Pocus 2 is that audiences get to see Winifred Sanderson, Mary Sanderson, and Sarah Sanderson as children in Salem in the mid-1600s — where they are as unwelcome as they are when they come back. The three young girls have only each other to rely on, and the townspeople attempt to drive them away when Winifred refuses to marry a man she does not want to. However, in true Sanderson fashion, the sisters get their revenge on those who have wronged them. We even get to see a young Billy Butcherson!
One of the most memorable scenes in the first movie was when Winifred, Mary, and Sarah crash the Salem Halloween party at Town Hall. The adults don’t believe Max, Dani, and Allison when they try to reveal the witches’ true identities. From there, the sisters sing “I Put a Spell On You” and curse the people at the party to dance until they die. Thankfully, the spell is broken when sunrise comes and the witches are sent back to where they came from.
There are even more songs in Hocus Pocus 2 — including the Blondie hit, “One Way or Another” and the song “The Witches Are Back”. While it’s fun to dance along to them, the songs are not as memorable as “I Put a Spell On You” — which was nearly impossible to top.
When you watch the original Hocus Pocus, you can tell that the film was one that was meant to be released in theaters. Hocus Pocus 2 definitely has the feel of a movie that was made for television. For millennials, the sequel will definitely give them the feeling that they are watching a Disney Channel Original Movie — which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Overall, Hocus Pocus 2 is not as good as Hocus Pocus, but it is absolutely still worth watching. Midler, Najimy, and Parker step back into the roles they first brought to life 30 years ago like they never left. The new story gives an air of familiarity while carving its own path.
Now, Disney has not shared whether they will make another Hocus Pocus film, but they have set the story up in such a way that it is absolutely possible to bring some of the characters back again.
Hocus Pocus 2 is currently available to stream on Disney+ and is a great choice to stream this Halloween season.
Overall Grade – B+