Hocus Pocus 2 review – a spectacularly wicked nostalgic sequel

By Lori Meek
Published: September 30, 2022 (Last updated: August 29, 2023)


Hocus Pocus 2 blends in the themes that gave the original cult status with a new heartfelt story while introducing the magic to a new generation.

This review of the Disney+ film Hocus Pocus 2 does not contain spoilers.

The witches are back! After nearly three decades, Disney finally decided to grace viewers with a sequel for their cult classic, Hocus Pocus. The film was directed by Anne Fletcher and stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, reprising their iconic roles as the three Sanderson sisters: Winnie, Marry and Sarah. Doug Jones also returned as the “good zombie,” Billy Richardson. 

The plot for Hocus Pocus 2 is familiar, yet the right amount of originality is mixed in the cauldron. In the first few scenes, we learn how the Sanderson sisters got their powers. They are forced to run out in the woods after a 16-year-old Winnie refuses to marry the boy Salem’s de facto leader, Reverant Traske (Tony Hale), chose for her. In retaliation, the Reverant tries to take away her sisters and place them in whatever the 1600s version of foster care was. Of course, the three run away together and come across a witch (Hannah Waddingham) who gives them the sentient Book of magic. 

The film then cuts to modern-day Salem. Set 29 years after the events of the original, the narrative is centered on three teenagers, Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham). The three of them used to be best friends until Cassie started dating a typical jock (Froy Gutierrez). Also fans of witchcraft, the teens spend a lot of time in the Sanderson sisters’ former home, now turned into a magic shop/museum run by Gilbert (Sam Richardson), who happens to be a huge fan of the Sanderson sisters. Becca and Izzy become the virgins who accidentally conjure the witches once more. This time, the wicket trio is hell-bent on getting their revenge and destroying Salem once and for all. 

As far as sequels go, Hocus Pocus 2 does a lot of things right. It pays the right amount of homage to the original while staying focused on telling its own story. We learn more about the Sanderson sisters and the importance of their bond. The musical numbers are fun, and the fish-out-of-water elements are executed to perfection. Watching the three witches in a Walgreens trying out “potions” had me in stitches. As did putting the witches face to face with modern-day amenities like two Roombas with a mind of their own and Amazon’s Alexa as the “small woman trapped in a box.” Including a black cat who doesn’t talk was a nice little nod to the first film.

Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker play their roles as if no time has passed since they were last casting spells in those colorful witchy costumes. It’s clear that the cast had a blast filming this, and it shows on screen. The younger actors also did a fine job. And the Doug Jones portrayal of a zombie who really wants everyone to know that the relationship between him and Winnie wasn’t that deep is hilarious. 

Less dark than the 1993 film, the sequel conveys a message about friendship and sisterhood packed in a colorful Halloween package. Hocus Pocus 2 blends in the themes that gave the original cult status with a new heartfelt story while introducing the magic to a new generation. Many Millennials who grew up with the first film now get to revel in nostalgia while enjoying the sequel with their children, and that’s what Disney should be about. 

What did you think of Hocus Pocus 2? Comment below.

Additional Reading

Disney+, Movie Reviews, Streaming Service