By Isabella Percontino
“Hocus Pocus,” a fantasy-comedy starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters, has been a fan-favorite Halloween film since its 1993 release.
“Hocus Pocus 2,” the highly-anticipated sequel released on Sept. 30, finds The Sanderson sisters unleashed once again on Halloween, but this time, by two magic-obsessed girls, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo). With their powers being restored, Winifred, Sarah and Mary all bewitch the town of Salem in true Sanderson sisters’ fashion with musical numbers and magic galore.
The true standouts of the film are once again the three leading ladies: Midler, Najimy and Parker with their impeccable comedic timing throughout the movie. It feels almost as if no time has passed with how well they truly captured these characters once again.
As thrilling as the trio are, the newbies they are surrounded by are just as amazing. Other cast members include young actors Peak and Escobedo, as well as the goofy town mayor played by Tony Hale and the owner of the magic shop, Sam Richardson. I cannot forget about the lovely Hannah Waddingham, famously known for acting in the television series, “Ted Lasso,” who plays the witch who helps the young sisters discover their magical powers.
The film has many notable callbacks to iconic moments from the original, including my personal favorite, Parker’s “amok, amok, amok.” In the original film, Sarah Sanderson in true comedic timing yells, “amok, amok, amok” after sister Wifired states the word. In this film, she does it once again. As a huge fan of the line, it made me beyond happy to get to hear Parker say it once again.
Even with several callbacks to original memorable moments, the sequel created many of its own funny, unforgettable moments. One of those moments was the three sisters experiencing a Walgreens for the first time. Who would have thought a motorized vacuum could be used as a witch's broom?
Although the film does not include another performance of “I Put a Spell on You, which was the famous group number from the first film,” “Hocus Pocus 2” did include memorable musical performances. My personal favorite is a scene in which the sisters enter a Sanderson sisters costume contest and ultimately lose. However, the trio will not let that slide and instead perform a bewitching rendition of “One Way or Another” to possess the town of Salem.
The film would not have felt the same without a musical number, although it does not live up to the iconic performance of “I Put a Spell on You.” However, as with any film sequel, sometimes iconic moments from the original can never be topped.
The core of the movie is all about sisterhood not only between Winifred, Sarah and Mary, but between teenage girls, Becca, Izzy and Cassie. The theme of sisterhood remains true to the original’s roots, while also creating a new story that a younger audience can relate to.
“Hocus Pocus 2” is truly riding on pure nostalgia and the 30-year-long cult following the original has. Nostalgia, however, can fail many long-awaited sequels and ruin the magic that was made by the first film. “Hocus Pocus 2” does the opposite and does not sacrifice the story that came before.
The sequel stayed true to its original roots while still standing on its own. There was no horrible ending that ruins the magic created in the original or rushed plot that made the film feel incomplete. “Hocus Pocus 2” is the perfect follow-up to a Halloween staple.
“Hocus Pocus 2” is now streaming on Disney+.