Trick or treat, Halloween costumes, and all that candy. Of course, movies and music, and social media will also march to the October drum that wants to spook us all. Hocus Pocus 2 does that just right. It’s fun, frolic, and all the retro madness you’d been missing, and studios want to capitalize on. Directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Jen D’Angelo, this is a sequel to the 1993 film. Hocus Pocus 2 has all the right takes on modern sensibilities while being spooky enough to give you the Halloween feels.
The film takes us back to the beginning of the Sanderson sisters’ trifles in Salem. Young Winifred (played beautifully by Taylor Paige Henderson) is protective of her sisters, and they escape the oppressive reverend Traske (Tony Hale). Winifred and her sisters land up in a nearby forbidden forest where they meet ‘the Book’ which has the spell of how to become the most powerful witch ever. Cut to a few (hundred) years later (370 to be exact) where a modern Salem is all geared for Halloween. A group of friends Becca, Izzy, and Cassie are going through some not-so-friendly turmoil. Enter the rebirth of the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy in all their witchy glories). There is the always fun ‘hey is this how things work in 2022’ bits as the witches enter a pharmacy and try beauty products.
You would think it is too cliche, but it isn’t, really. Or whatever amount of cliched tropes is used — work in some kind of bewitching harmony. It dips into nostalgia but not too much that you’d forget the current characters you’re following. It has enough modern messages, but it’s old-school enough to be funny and likable. To be honest, I seriously have no idea what jokes can be okay anymore). Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy escape the predictable trap of derivativeness with their charm. The young actors (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham, and Charles Richardson) play to their innocence and comedic timing. Overall, Hocus Pocus 2’s real magic is not being a stale rehash/sequel of a much-loved original. Which is nothing short of a Halloween miracle itself!