Film Review – Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

films, reviews

Rating: 2 out of 5.

As a millennial, I have very strong feelings about the film Hocus Pocus. Especially as I’m not a fan of horror movies. It’s my ultimate Halloween film and I could watch it over and over again. I absolutely love Bette Midler and her performance of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ is iconic. It might not be the best film ever but I think it’s perfect. So, I was in two minds when the sequel was announced. I wanted more from Winnie and her sisters but I didn’t trust Disney to do it well. I had to find out one way or another.

One of the things that Disney seems to be doing at the moment is attempting to humanise villains. It started with Angelina Jolie making Maleficent the woman scorned and carried on to attempt to make the dog murdering Cruella seem less evil. Did we need a film that made the Sanderson sisters seem sympathetic? No but that’s where we find ourselves.

The film starts off with a bloated sequence taking us back to the Sanderson sisters’ childhood. Turns out they were just ahead of their time and Winks was actually just a woman who demanded a voice of her own. It’s not that I disagree with this new feminist take but it really doesn’t make much sense after the original. It also takes a lot of the viciousness out of Winne’s character.

I’m not saying the first film was particularly dark but this is so soft. I don’t think there was ever a point in the sequel where anyone was really in jeopardy from the three witches. They spend most of their time singing and dancing. At least in the original film, you believed that they would actually have killed those children and sucked out their youth. Not this time.

Not only do you know the score from the beginning but the film is more bothered about nostalgia than good storytelling. There was never a point here that justified the sequel. It’s not that it’s an exact remake of the first plot. This isn’t the shot-for-shot remake of Psycho. It’s more like The Force Awakens and A New Hope. The bare bones are there but there is new stuff to distract us as well.

It’s not that Hocus Pocus 2 is the worst sequel ever. It’s not a terrible film and there are a lot of fun aspects. The main problem is how desperately it tries to recreate or better the original. Take the singing scene from the original. With a bigger budget, that becomes a huge flashmob style dance routine through Salem. It literally adds nothing to the story and is abandoned pretty quickly. It’s also the second song in the film. I just don’t get it.

Some fans will be more than happy just seeing the sisters back on screen. It’s clear that Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker are having a great time. Midler is, once again, the standout. She’s the main thing keeping the film together after all. I don’t see many people warming to the film without already knowing the first one. It doesn’t add anything exciting or new. It didn’t need to be made and a third film would be another major misstep.

4 thoughts on “Film Review – Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

  1. I have to agree with you on your review. I think they really missed the mark with this sequel. It was very disappointing. The only good thing about it was that the three sisters were back. The movie lacked excitement and a proper storyline that concluded with the original.

    Liked by 1 person

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