By: Amanda Guarragi
The Sanderson coven is back this Halloween, and it’s as if they never left Salem. Hocus Pocus 2 delivers a new tale for the next generation while subtly giving the witches we have grown to love a much-needed backstory. In this sequel, three young women, Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern-day Salem. They must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world. This is a strong sequel because it has a message about loving the people in your life regardless of disagreement. The first film didn’t have a strong storyline, so this sequel was a nice surprise because it had a bit more heart. Who would have thought that three witches who eat children would have some love?
What worked for Hocus Pocus 2 was the “fish-out-of-water” act for the Sanderson sisters. That’s always a good angle to maximize the humour. Three witches return after almost three decades to Salem, which looks slightly different. There are new stores like Walgreens, new products, and, of course, technology. When Becca and Izzy meet the Sanderson sisters after accidentally bringing them back on Halloween night, they try their best to distract them. The tactics they use are quite funny and the comedic timing from Kathy Najimy will have anyone in stitches. Director Anne Fletcher guides the audience through Halloween night with the Sanderson sister regaining some control.
It was also nice to see practical effects being used to bring nostalgia to the town of Salem. When they were flying or casting spells, the special effects looked great. The story between Becca, Cassie and Izzy was more engaging than the original story because it’s about three best friends coming together again to save Salem. Even though they drifted apart, they all went on their journeys to find themselves and circle back to each other. Whitney Peak did a great job carrying the film when the Sanderson sisters were causing chaos all over town. The one person who is always a delight to see on screen is Sam Richardson who plays Gilbert. He is the man who has kept “Book” and their shop (home) up to date and wanted to get them back to Salem.
When the spooky season comes around, Hocus Pocus has always been an annual watch. Anne Fletcher has made an even better film for a new generation. With room for more covens in the future. There are two songs that the Sanderson sisters sing that work and will put a smile on your face because of the lyric change for one of them. This movie will make young girls realize that your best friends are your sisters. You will always feel loved and supported. It is a feel-good Halloween movie for the entire family. Sometimes sequels can be just as good as the original or even succeed, and this one sure exceeds it. Whenever Bette Midler gets a chance to sing and dance, and strut her stuff on screen it’s always a good time.