Opinion — Review of “Hocus Pocus 2”

Lilly Griebel

In the fall months of 2005, I was exposed to the first scary movie that I would ever watch. Well, scary at the time for a three-year-old. 

Released roughly 12 years before, Kenny Ortega’s “Hocus Pocus” definitely left its mark on the world of children’s Halloween movies. Now, nearly 17 years later, I have had the privilege of seeing a sequel be created. I was immediately ecstatic to see that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy would be reprising their roles as the famous Sanderson Sisters in “Hocus Pocus 2”.

Without giving away too much, the sequel follows the stories of three high school students in Salem, Massachusetts. One of them, Becca (played by Whitney Peak), has a birthday that conveniently falls on Halloween. This feeds into her love of Halloween and all of the spookiness it entails. Becca and her friend Izzy celebrate her birthday as normal. However, they eventually bring back the Sanderson sisters by accident. 

I believe that the film did a great job of playing on the nostalgia factor of its fans. That is definitely where it would make the most money. I was so excited that I felt like a little kid on Christmas when watching, and I am sure that I was not alone in that. 

The nostalgia is truly what carried the film. I think it takes a very special skill to find three actors that have the chemistry that the three witches have. In the original film, it was evident. But, 29 years later, it is like nothing had changed and no time had passed. Their chemistry is what made the film so fun to watch. 

What was even more fun to watch was the actress Taylor Henderson who played a young Winifred Sanderson. I would have to say that her performance was the best “young version” of a character I have ever seen. 

With a character like Winifred who has so many quirks and mannerisms that are unique, anyone who takes on that role besides Bette Midler has to do their homework. I can confidently say that Henderson did not just do her homework but went for the extra credit too. 

Of course, a witch is nothing without her coven. So, I would like to give praise to the actresses who played young Sarah and Mary Sanderson. Those roles were played beautifully by Juju Journey Brener and Nina Kitchen respectively. They had some very big shoes to fill. 

Unfortunately, however, this is just another recent film that has fallen into the hands of Gen Z humor. 

I understand that this humor works with some of the audience, but it honestly angered me. I am very sick of movies that play us off as dumb teenagers that do not have personalities. I am not saying that every movie has done this to Gen Z, nor am I saying that this movie did that to all of its characters. But some characters were definitely given the personality of a typical Gen Z robot. 

Too many movies these days use this as a way to relate to their younger audience, but what they do not see is that it is pushing away the older side of the Gen Z spectrum – by this, I mean anyone born between 1997 and 2005. 

Some films can play the Gen Z humor factor well, but “Hocus Pocus 2” unfortunately shoved that factor down your throat.

Overall, I believe that “Hocus Pocus 2”, while having a somewhat similar plot to its predecessor, created its own version of that plot that got you wanting even more. As someone who has quite literally waited for this movie their whole life, I am honored that I got to see this sequel come to life. 

After basing my first rating of the movie purely on the nostalgia factor, my rating of it now will consider everything. But I must say, if you love a good Halloween movie that will not spook you too much, the Hocus Pocus film duo is a must-see.

(Rating: 7/10)