Hocus Pocus 2 is a wicked flop

Sophia Pendergast, Staff Reporter

The witches are back in town! With Halloween fast approaching, people everywhere settle in to press play on scary movies, including the cult classic Hocus Pocus. This year, though, many are flocking towards a long awaited sequel: Hocus Pocus 2

But, does it compare to the original? Not by a long shot. 

Hocus Pocus 2 takes a modern spin on the original, following 3 friends as they attempt to stop the infamous Sanderson sisters after relighting the Black Flame candle. Along the way, they overcome a variety of obstacles, highlighting the importance of friendship. 

This film fell short in a variety of ways. One of the main details that took away from the overall viewing experience was the lack of nostalgia. Whenever I turn on the original, I am almost overwhelmed by the feeling of Fall, and am quickly reminded of the sugar filled nights of my trick-or-treating youth. The charming yet spooky setting of Salem, MA never fails to fill me with Halloween spirit. The sequel, however, is a completely different story. As I watched, I felt no sense of warmth. An overuse of modern technology, as well as heavily CGI scenes took away from the charm of the film. While we can all respect the fact that this film was made nearly 30 years after the original, there could have been more effort to maintain some of the original wonder. 

As mentioned above, the use of modern technology took away from the film. Although technological advances have been made since 1993, it appeared that cellphones, laptops, etc. were a focal point of the new film. Though it was realistic for the time, it felt as if technology played too big of a role in the story. Instead of relying on instincts, the characters immediately turned to their phones, which impacted the overall sense of excitement within the film.  

The overall acting of the film was also subpar. While the work of Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy was just as charismatic and entertaining as their work in the original, the others left much to be desired. The often over exaggerated facial expressions and vocal intonations, as well as overly forced emotions led to many cringe-inducing moments. Granted, this is a Disney film targeted towards children, one would assume that the popularity of the original would have pushed creators to hire better actors. The acting quality fell at a steep decline between the original and sequel. 

Perhaps the only redeeming quality of this film was the humor throughout. Though a spooky movie, there were many laugh-out-loud moments. I particularly enjoyed a scene in Salem’s local CVS where the Sanderson sisters discover new anti-aging “potions.” A few of the jokes brought me back to the earlier days of Disney – they would go over the heads of the younger viewers, but older ones would find them funny. The comedic relief throughout gave me something to look forward to amidst the overall disappointing movie experience. 

So, as you dawn your witches capes and vampire fangs, and find yourself with an hour and forty-three minutes to spare, don’t waste your time with this brand-new sequel and go for the original instead. 

Hocus Pocus 2 is available on Disney+.