Film Review: HOCUS POCUS 2 (2022): Entertaining New Comedy Sequel Will Cast a Spell on its Audience


Hocus Pocus 2 Review

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) Film Review, a movie directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Jen D’Angelo, David Kirschner and Blake Harris and starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham, Froy Gutierrez, Sam Richardson, Doug Jones, Tony Hale, Taylor Henderson, Nina Kitchen, Juju Journey Brener, Thomas Fitzgerald, Kim Niemi, Alison Weller and Holly Cinnamon.

Hocus Pocus 2 brings the Sanderson Sisters back to Salem in a hysterical new sequel to the 1993 movie, Hocus Pocus. While the movie is a bit of a mess, it has more than a fair share of clever scenes and zany one-liners to keep audiences who liked the first film more than satisfied.

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Right from the start, this new movie keeps the audience entertained with a flashback sequence to show how the Sanderson Sisters came to be. We meet the crew of female witches when they were young girls and before they were the legendary witches they will soon become. Taylor Henderson is terrific as the Young Winifred. This girl will grow up to be Bette Midler and Henderson has the spunk and charisma of the Divine Miss M making Henderson’s part in the movie one of the film’s highlights. It’s funny to see Henderson doing an impression of a younger Winifred (Midler) complete with the character’s signature buck teeth.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy serve as the other two Sanderson sisters, Sarah and Mary, who are summoned alongside Winifred as the film’s main story begins. In a laugh-out-loud funny scene, the three witches enter a Walgreens drugstore and go to the makeup department where a teenager named Becca (Whitney Peak) promises the witches they will find the secret to everlasting youth. There are some witty and clever moments such as the witches going through the front entrance door of Walgreens which opens automatically and seems like magic to our naive but dangerous witches who are looking to take some children’s souls as per the first movie.

There are some funny supporting performances. Sam Richardson as Gilbert who initially tries to help the good teenagers in the movie defeat the Sanderson Sisters keeps the viewer entertained through his charismatic performance. As Gilbert gets pursued by a good zombie in a graveyard, Gilbert soon teams with the zombie whose hand comically comes off when they officially shake hands. Tony Hale plays the mayor of the small town the movie is set in. Apparently, Winifred knows the mayor’s earlier descendants and immediately sets out to find the mayor in order to fulfill her own devious, wicked schemes.

Meanwhile, Becca and her friend Izzy need to get a spell book away from the witches in order to save the small town from the havoc the Sanderson Sisters set out to wreck on the town. Belissa Escobedo as Izzy is charismatic and makes a good on-screen team with Peak’s Becca.

Of course, the townsfolk in the movie believe the Sanderson Sisters are long gone. Our witches are mistaken as people wearing Halloween costumes and call themselves “The Originals” as they get on a stage to try to win a costume contest which they lose making Winifred quite upset. Pretty soon, the Sanderson Sisters are on stage singing Blondie’s lyrics, “One Way or Another…We’re Gonna Get You.”

While the movie is a lot of fun to watch, it certainly was a long time in the making. The movie makes the most of the time that has passed with modern day touches such as when Winifred grabs a broom to ride on while another sister hops on a Swiffer stick. However, the picture lacks a bit of the magic of the original in terms of creating a truly inspired story line. Nevertheless, the movie has a lot of fun with the witches hamming it up for some great comic moments that include the witches breaking into a house that has a confused Alexa device present.

Midler once again steals the show. She is incredibly gifted, and Winifred is one of her most memorable roles especially for viewers who grew up watching her movies as kids. It’s great to see Midler playing this role again. The other two witches have their moments as well, but this is clearly Midler’s movie almost all the way through. Richardson and Hale are welcome additions to the cast with their well-conceived roles and the costumes and makeup are appropriately on point throughout the picture.

Hocus Pocus 2 does what it sets out to do which is entertain viewers around Halloween-time. It’s purely enjoyable to watch but won’t be as memorable as the first film was for most viewers. It’s still serviceable entertainment, nevertheless. Also, stay tuned for the end credits musical performance by the Sanderson Sisters which is also a lot of fun.

Rating: 7/10

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