Monday, October 3, 2022


This past week I had the pleasure of watching the long awaited sequel to 1993's Hocus Pocus - simply called Hocus Pocus 2. The witches are back, and although they are a lot older, it was a cute movie to watch with my daughter. Filming took place from October 2021 to January 2022 in Rhode Island, replacing Salem, Massachusetts. It was released on Disney+ on September 30, 2022. Like the original, the film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cast, humor, and nostalgia, but criticized the plot.

In 2022, twenty-nine years after the Sanderson sisters were resurrected by the Black Flame Candle, Salem teenagers Becca and Izzy prepare to celebrate both Halloween and Becca's sixteenth birthday but turn down a party invitation from their estranged friend Cassie Traske. Becca and Izzy visit a magic shop (formerly the Sanderson cottage) run by Gilbert, who gifts Becca a candle for their annual birthday ritual. Becca and Izzy light the candle and discover that it is another Black Flame Candle. As there is a full moon and the girls are both virgins, the candle resurrects the Sanderson sisters once again.

The girls manage to outwit the sisters in a local Walgreens and then escape to the magic shop where they discover that Gilbert tricked them into reviving the sisters, having seen them on Halloween back in 1993 and been taught how to make the candle by Book. The sisters catch up to the girls and see a campaign flyer belonging to Mayor Traske, Cassie's father and Reverend Traske's direct descendant. Winifred decides they will cast the Magicae Maxima spell to eliminate Traske and take revenge on Salem. The sisters trap Izzy and Becca in the basement and leave to hunt down Traske, whose blood is needed to complete the spell. They force Gilbert to collect the other ingredients.

The girls escape and head to the Traske house to warn the mayor while the sisters find their way to the town's Halloween carnival and enchant the citizens to help them find the mayor. Meanwhile, Gilbert digs up Billy Butcherson, who has been awake but entombed since 1993. Gilbert needs Billy's head for the spell but tricks Billy into helping him collect the other ingredients first.

The girls reunite with Cassie and manage to trap the sisters within a salt circle in Cassie's garage before Mayor Traske returns home. The three teenagers make amends with one another but their reunion is short-lived when the sisters escape the circle and kidnap Cassie to use her blood instead. Becca and Izzy follow them to the forbidden forest where Gilbert has assembled the ingredients and soon discover that Becca is also a witch. The sisters partially cast the spell and increase their power, but Becca distracts them while Izzy rescues Cassie. Becca manages to convince Book that it does not have to answer to Winifred, and Becca and Book flee further into the forest. Book shows them a warning about the Magicae Maxima spell, stating that whoever casts it must give up what they cherish most.

The girls agree to warn Winifred of the price of the spell but are too late: Winifred becomes all powerful as Mary and Sarah fade to dust. Winifred grows despondent and begs the teenagers to use their newfound powers to save her sisters. While they cannot save the two, Becca, Cassie and Izzy join together in a coven and cast a reuniting spell and Winifred happily fades away to be reunited with her sisters.

The girls are joined by Gilbert and Billy while Billy starts to fade away, realizing that all of Winifred's spells have been undone and relieved to finally be headed to his eternal rest. The girls decide to give Book a new home and continue practicing their magic as they walk off into the night in a similar manner as the Sanderson sisters. As they leave, a bird identical to the one that Mother Witch had shapeshifted into flies overhead. Don't forget to stay tuned for a post credit scene!

Bette Midler looks great as the head witch still, but Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker look too thin if that is possible in Hollywood. The end of the movie has more a message than the prior movie, but the movie is fun, nostalgic and perfect to start the Halloween season with...


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