REVIEW: ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ lost its spark

Much like the Sanderson Sisters, the cinematic universe of “Hocus Pocus” worsened with age

By Lulu Heffernan | November 8, 2022 10:00am

The 2022 sequel to "Hocus Pocus" follows the Sanderson sisters as the black flame candle brings them back for a second night.

Canva by Lulu Heffernan

Images courtesy of Disney

The Sanderson Sisters were truly an integral part of my childhood. From the first time I watched “Hocus Pocus” I was in love with the entire vibe of the movie — the witches, Halloween and the ‘90s. To this day, “Hocus Pocus” is still the movie I watch when I need comfort or am just having an off day.

When I heard about “Hocus Pocus 2” being made I was very nervous. I’m normally weary of sequels coming out, especially when they come out 29 years after the original film. 

Going into the movie, I was confused about how there could even be a sequel since the sisters turned into dust at the end of the first movie (spoiler alert, sorry but you’ve had 29 years.) Once the movie started, I was at least relieved that it was starting out in Salem in the 1600s like the first one. 

That relief was short-lived. The actors for the most part are fairly young, so I may have to give them the benefit of the doubt but the acting felt like one of those TikToks that makes fun of Disney acting tropes. For example, the character Mike shows up late and attributes it to deciding to have two breakfasts. That being said, Mike does end up providing a bit of comedic relief based solely on how clueless he is. 

Speaking of characters, Tony Hale also stars in this movie as the mayor which gets positive points from me since I am a huge fan of “Arrested Development” in which Hale plays Buster Bluth, but that’s a small side note. 

“Hocus Pocus 2” in the end did not feel anything like the first movie. Maybe I’m disappointed because I was expecting this movie to feel more like a 90s comfort movie, but it was ultimately missing its spark. 

When the sisters make their appearance for the first time in this film, they burst into song. While these actresses are great singers, this scene was not. Yes, there is singing in the first movie, but the sisters did it in appropriate areas such as on the town hall stage or for luring children into their grips — places where it’s expected people will sing. This musical scene only added to the cheesiness of this movie. 

Throughout the movie, I also noticed many inconsistencies from the first film. For example, the sisters seem clueless about the modern world. Yes the world has changed a lot since the ‘90s, but there are still some things they should be able to recognize from that time and place. If the sisters can learn what a learner’s permit is in the first movie, I think they should be able to understand automatic sliding doors and the fact that children’s souls aren’t in lotion. 

Early on in the film, the sisters make a trip to Walgreens which honestly felt like it took away from the charm of the movie and made it feel like more of an advertisement. I was watching this scene — which felt like it went on for way too long — wondering how much money Disney would be getting from showcasing anti-aging creams that can keep these witches looking 300 years young. 

As a whole, I hold that “Hocus Pocus 2” is absolutely nothing like its predecessor. It does not embody the same cozy, fall feeling the first movie does and it was a little bit disappointing. That being said, there were bits and pieces in the movie that I thought were okay. 

There is also a scene where Mary is flying by a house on her makeshift broom and looks in through the window to see people watching “Hocus Pocus” on TV. There were also kids out and about on Halloween night dressed up as some of the characters from the first movie. While this was a cool nod to the original movie, it also broke realities which was another inconsistency.

Inconsistencies aside,  there were some callbacks to the first movie I appreciated. For example, Sarah asks about her lucky rat tails and shouts “amok amok amok.” Winnifred also uses her powers and exclaims to her sisters that she hasn’t lost her touch. 

These familiar touches were nice to see but one major callback that was missing was a character saying “It’s all just a bunch of hocus pocus.” But, then again this movie really wasn’t a bunch of hocus pocus so maybe that’s okay.

Lulu Heffernan is the Living Section Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at