Hocus Pocus 2 review: Blood is thicker than water

by | Oct 14, 2022 | Entertainment

RATING: 7/10

YES to post-credit scenes

Minor spoilers for the first 7 minutes!

In my opinion, sequels to cult classics tend to be inferior to the original. Hocus Pocus 2 isn’t better than the original, but it’s also not worse, while still being different enough that it will feel like you’re watching something new. 

The movie opens with a young Winifred Sanderson (Taylor Henderson) being run out of the town of Salem for doing two satanic things at the time: being headstrong and refusing to be a 16-year-old bride to the Reverend’s (Tony Hale) son. She takes her two sisters to the forbidden forest, where they gain their unholy powers from a mysterious stranger. 

The movie then switches to present times, where the events of the original Hocus Pocus are considered an urban legend. Becca (Whitney Peak), the heroine of the film, performs a birthday ritual and lights what she quickly learns is the notorious black flame candle.

As Becca lights the candle, she summons the (now quite aged) Sanderson sisters: Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary( Kathy Najimy). They are introduced in the movie by performing an enchanting version of an Elton John song. Unfortunately, the film’s other musical number is not as great as this one, turning it into a trick instead of a treat.

While this film follows the hero’s journey formula with Becca, it focuses more on the Sanderson sisters. It doesn’t overdo the attention they receive, as the film intermittently jumps to Gilbert (Sam Richardson), the local magic shop owner, and his new partner, who was a fan favourite from the first film. 

This movie is full of easter eggs and references to Milder, Parker and Najimy’s roles in the past. One particular easter egg implies someone from the first movie ran off to Hollywood to make Hocus Pocus a movie while never explicitly saying who.

While this movie does not surpass the original, it also does not become a lesser version of the original. It expands on the origins of the Sanderson sisters, showing the terrible trio was not born evil. They were made evil by a foolish zealot whose intentions were blinded by a woman who rejected him. This movie does an interesting take on the old idiom “blood is thicker than water,” as it has been so misused in the last few decades. Instead, Hocus Pocus 2 teaches the true meaning of the full idiom: “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” This movie will not win any Oscars, but it is not a movie to be missed. It shows women’s empowerment while still mocking a few of the classic cliches.. Do be warned that if you watch this film at 3 a.m. as I did, you might end up disappointed when you ultimately crave caramel apples, but find nothing open (as I did). It’s a risk you’ll have to take. 

cover photo via Disney

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