HOCUS POCUS 2 (DISNEY+) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.
The Sanderson sisters are back to haunt Salem after an absence of 29 years. With Halloween closing, you will for sure enjoy the company of returning cast members, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in this follow up which is directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal).
After a brief prologue detailing their banishment from Salem in 1653 by Reverend Traske (Tony Hale), the three witches are resurrected in the modern day by best friends, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) after they are given the black flame candle by the local magic shop owner, Gilbert (Sam Richardson).
The sisters are back to take revenge on the Mayor of Salem (Tony Hale again), the descendent of the Reverend and has the whole town bewitched to find him. Forced to come up with the ingredients for the Magicae Maxima spell to eliminate Traske and Salem for the sisters, Gilbert has to seek the help of a zombie, Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones), the former lover of Winnifred (Midler).
And now, it’s up to Becca, Izzy and their estranged buddy, Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) to stop the witches and save Salem.
With all the constant tired remakes, reboot and sequels of past IP, there’s not much of a track record to talk about for Disney+ lately. Fortunately, Hocus Pocus 2 manages to repeat the same old magic tricks without tarnishing its predecessor. Sure, the musical numbers sound dated and forced probably due to the fact that choreographer/director Kenny Ortega is absent here. The entire premise by far and large is liked a rehash of the original and the modern day teenagers doesn’t really have much to do.
Still, the fun and silly setups mostly got away due to mainly nostalgia. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy continues to ham things up as the wacky trio of child-eating witches. Mostly, they are far more amusing than frightening. Just check out the hilarious scene in Walgreens. Doug Jones and Sam Richardson’s characters feel like the movie’s much needed comic sidekicks. And to add on, the sisters’ backstory delivers a nice intro how they turned into witches.
Without the need to seek out the original Hocus Pocus to enjoy, this sequel is a pleasing treat for the upcoming Halloween. Definitely not a worthy piece to be seen on the big screen, there’s however enough magic dust and spells to keep you glued to the screen at home. Just make sure to top up the candies and popcorns by your side.
Review by Linus Tee