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Hocus Pocus 2 (Film Review)

3 min read
Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

Relax… the Sanderson sisters are still putting their spell on us.

2022 is truly the year for sequels making their way to the screen 30 years after the fact. Following in the mighty footsteps of Top Gun:Maverick taking the box office by storm, pre-millennium nostalgia is back for a second outing — but this time, there's magic. Amazingly, 2 doesn't let its former brilliance down in the slightest.

Winnifred, Mary, and Sarah are running amok (amok amok amok!) in 2022 Salem thanks to two clueless teenagers recasting the virginal spell we saw in the 1993 original. Faced with the likes of Walgreens and selfies, the Sanderson sisters kick off a second wave of child-hungry chaos in new territory, with a few familiar faces along the way. There's drag queens, jaunty pop covers, and Buster from Arrested Development — a.k.a everything that's needed for a rollicking good time.

While Hocus Pocus painted the Sandersons as villains with hectic pipes on them, its sequel refocuses the trio into a more empathetic light. There's a sense of family at its core, starting off by exploring the three as children before being adopted by the sexiest Mother Witch of all time, . Particular kudos must be made to young Winnifred (Taylor Henderson), nailing the facial agility that makes the family's head honcho iconic in her own right. Though it sings in whimsy, this opening gambit of is fairly paint by numbers, equally spearheaded by modern-day protagonists Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo). The two are faces easily lost in the drowning sea of teen flicks, neither holding enough spark or chemistry to tear them away from the pack. Thankfully, their counterparts never need any introduction.

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

Though you could guess its action and morals a mile off, there's nothing quite like watching , , and work their magic. The three are clearly thrilled to be back in their Sanderson roles, and it's a heartfelt pleasure to see. They love what they're doing, and we're there to lap up every second. The nods to modern times don't feel overly forced or contrived, with humour naturally bubbling its way to the top. Jessica Parker is arguably the strongest of the three, but each of them slips back into character as if 29 years had never passed. There are two musical numbers — with neither as strong as the “I Put A Spell On You” glory that still has YouTube in a chokehold. Nevertheless, kids and adults alike will be beaming from ear to ear. Our advice? Watch all the way to the end and thank us later.

Was Hocus Pocus 2 ever going to beat out its predecessor? No. But all it needed to do is embody its charm and spirit, which is something it does with aplomb. There are plenty of holes to be picked at and things we've seen before, but in a time when we want enjoyable fun with no questions asked, the town of Salem delivers once again. Thank you, Sandersons.

Hocus Pocus 2 is available on Disney+ from 30th September.