The Reel Review


The witches are back in this sequel to the popular 1993 fantasy/comedy about a coven of dimwitted, 17th century, child-eating sisters. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles as the trio once again conjured back to modern day Salem, Massachusetts – this time by teenage girls.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy in Hocus Pocus 2

There are a handful of cute, fish-out-of-water moments in Hocus Pocus 2:  a visit to a Walgreens drug store and an interaction with an Amazon Echo. The finalé and closing credits are also sweet and Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) is a nice addition as a witch in a 17th century flashback cameo. Beyond that, this lackluster reunion is a disappointingly stale, missed opportunity.

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus 2

It’s nice to see the film’s stars again, but the sequel’s new characters are completely forgettable throwaways. That said, with all of its hidden Easter Egg homages to the original Hocus Pocus, Hocus Pocus 2 is singularly focused, nostalgic fan service for adoring, hardcore admirers of the original film. It just won’t win over any new ones.


• Bette Midler is largely responsible for making Hocus Pocus 2 a reality, capitalizing on the original film’s cult popularity over the years.

Sarah Jessica Parker in 2004’s Who Do You Think You Are?

• On the 2004 history series Who Do You Think You Are? Sarah Jessica Parker learned her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Elwell, was arrested in Salem in the late 1600s for committing “sundry acts of witchcraft” and choking a neighbor to death. The case never went to court.

• Kathy Najimy, Tony Hale and Sam Richardson previously appeared together in the HBO comedy series Veep.


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