Review Hocus Pocus 2 Is A Modern Halloween Classic - harchi90

Review Hocus Pocus 2 Is A Modern Halloween Classic

The Sanderson Sisters

Image: Disney+

Just in time for spooky season, Hocus Pocus 2 sweeps in to mark the start of the Halloween season with a spellbinding sequel. The Sanderson sisters don’t miss a step with the legendary Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprising their roles as if not a day has gone by since Kenny Ortega’s 1993 sleeper Disney hit.

This time around Anne Fletcher (dumplin) takes the reigns on the classic coven franchise which cleverly revives the witches in a lega-sequel with wicked musical moments, more iconic humor and a refreshing take on sisterhood. It’s truly a shame that Hocus Pocus 2 follows Turning Red in Disney’s wrong call to have it just go directly to Disney+, it should be seen in theaters. At least it will have a long spooky season sleepover and movie night run.

Before we pick up 29 years after the events of the first movie, it opens on a prologue that centers the Sanderson sisters when they’re kids. Their story is a bit more complicated (retroactively), as it gives a different perspective on Winifred’s bad streak. On her sixteenth birthday, the puritanical Salem village she and her sisters live in extend an ultimatum that Winnie marries a suitor or have her sisters taken away. Taylor Henderson, who plays a younger Winnie absolutely bodies Bette’s energy as a rebellious teen who refuses to abide with the patriarchal rules.

Young Sanderson sisters read from Book

Image: Disney+

Winnie takes her sisters Mary (Nina Kitchen) and Sarah (Juju Journey Brener) into the woods where they run into Mother Witch (Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham) who sings to them into a near death situation. Luckily, she recognizes a power in Winnie and her sisters so instead of sucking their life force away she offers them book, the one eye’s tome that holds all the spells they would need to revenge upon their town. It’s interesting that they get the anti-hero treatment as empowered witches but its so funny that they don’t stray away from them still needing to feed of children souls for eternal youth. The trio of young Sandersons are so delightful in their short introduction, it kinda makes us want their adventures as young witches too, they capture the spirits of their older counterparts while making the characters their own.

In modern day Salem, where the next chapter of the Hocus Pocus story takes place, we meet a trio of teen friends who are going through a rift. Becca (Whitney Peak ), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) used to be super close and practice witchcraft together like any friend group going through their magick phase until one of them gets a boyfriend. The wedge gets deeper when instead of celebrating Becca’s birthday with Izzy like usual, Cassie plans a Halloween party with her new boyfriend while her father Mayor Traske (Tony Hale) hosts the Hallows Eve festival.

Becca, Cassie and Izzy

Image: Disney+

It’s the perfect storm and sets the stage for the comeback we’ve been waiting for when Becca and Izzy stop by their favorite magic shop for birthday manifestations. Two duo feel so real as besties who were betrayed by their friend, you believe they’re going through it and it’s relatable. Peak breaks out as Becca, a natural leader set on shattering the misconceptions her classmates have about her practices.

Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) are back for revenge and the original “Gothic Golden Girls” relish embodying the witches once more in every frame—they fire. The acclaimed actresses completely disappear, they just are the Sanderson sisters and it’s so good to see them again. What’s fantastic about that this time, is they’ve come back to a world where witches are iconic and find out they’re local celebrities. Sure, they still want to consume children’s souls to regain youth but they quickly learn and embrace times have changed. Though some things haven’t like Doug Jones (The Shape of Water) as Billy Butcherson who hilariously finally gets to voice his truth about Winnie. Jones and Richardson get paired up in the B-plot to great slapstick effect that gives Butcherson’s role more substance.

Billy Butcherson in the grave

Image: Disney+

There’s show stopping Midler musical numbers that will become Halloween staples, magical mayhem, supernatural action and the power of binding bonds which makes Hocus Pocus 2 a fantastically powerful and timely story. In the younger witches, the Sandersons find formidable protégées by chance that are capable of holding their ground. Fletcher really poses them to mirror the Sandersons instead of pitting them against one another in a maiden versus crone trope. Becca has the spunk Winnie does, Izzy has Mary’s supportive streak and Cassie shares the love that Sarah pours into those closest to her. Their outfits even share really cute easter eggs (they’re coordinated if you look closely).

What’s incredible is that instead of being defeated by the younger witches in their quest for ultimate power by ways of a forbidden spell, they face obstacles in the form of generational traps together culminating in a truly transformative ending. Hocus Pocus 2 empowers and delivers on the encore we’ve been waiting 29 years for. And we hope we can revisit the past and future of this universe sooner rather than later. Next Halloween, please?

The Sanderson sisters cast their spell

Image: Disney+

Hocus Pocus 2 will stream on Disney+ starting September 30.

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