“Hocus Pocus” returns 30 years later: Sandersons clash with teen witches 

John Meyer

Lantern Staff

Hocus Pocus die-hard fans have been waiting nearly 30 years for a sequel, and the wait is over. In 1993, audiences were first introduced to the Sanderson sisters, three sisters who form the witch coven. There was a change in directors from the first film, directed by Kenny Ortega, to the second film directed by Anne Fletcher. Hocus Pocus 2, running one hour and 40 minutes, was released on Disney Plus on Friday, Sept. 30. 

In the movie Hocus Pocus 2, audiences are introduced to the origin story of the Sanderson sisters set in Salem in 1653. Early on, Book appears, and we learn that the spell book has its own thoughts. As teenagers, the Sanderson sisters learn about Book from Mother Witch (Hannah Waddingham). Mother Witch warns them never to use the Magicae Maxima spell since it is very dangerous and very forbidden.   

In Hocus Pocus 2, Gilbert (Sam Richardson), with the help of Book, the sisters’ spell book, brings back the Sanderson sisters. Gilbert, a witchcraft shop owner and the shop is the site of the Sandersons’ sisters cottage, has some tricks up his sleeve as he tricks best friends, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo). Becca (Whiteny Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) prepare for their yearly birthday ritual to celebrate Becca’s sixteenth birthday. When Gilbert learns of their birthday celebration, he tells Becca that every witch usually gets their powers on this birthday. He gives her a black candle that he says he filled with his own powerful energy to use for their ritual. Little do Becca and Izzy realize that lighting this candle will bring back the Sanderson sisters. 

Once the Sanderson sisters return, they learn rather quickly not to trust Becca and Izzy. Instead of the Life Potion the sister witches perform in the first installment, Winnie, in the second installment, wants to do the spell Magicae Maxima even though it is forbidden. The Sanderson sisters have Gilbert get the ingredients for the spell.  

Set in 1993, the original Hocus Pocus focuses on the Sanderson sisters who are brought back inside their old cottage because Max Dennison (Omri Katz) lights the black candle. Max along with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) are chased by the Sanderson sisters because they want to steal her soul in order to stay young and not be destroyed by the sun. The Sanderson sisters try to use the Life Potion on Dani, but the sisters fail because Max protects her. In the movie Hocus Pocus 2 the story is brought into 2022, and I did not like that they had done that. Personally, I wished that the film had been set in the early 2000s in the Sanderson sisters’ old cottage. It also would have been nice if they had brought back the original cast of Max, Dani and Anne. 

I was happy that Hocus Pocus 2 brought back Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones), who Winnie reminds audiences that he is her “lov-ah.” We learn in the movie that Billy was not Winnie’s boyfriend because ever since she said his name, she has soiled it for his whole life. During the movie Becca and Izzy try to speak with Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) because their friendship is on a small thread. Becca and Izzy learn the Sanderson sisters want to get Cassie’s father’s blood for the spell. While talking with Cassie, they all learn that they need each other to finish off this night. Becca, Izzy and Cassie all work together to find a way to defeat the Sanderson sisters. While doing that, they learn from Book that magic should be used as a group and not kept to one person.  

Another plus of the film is that Book has his own mind. Book is allowed to choose if he wants to do a spell or not; he is also able to choose who it wants its master to be. Just like how through the movie, Book never allowed the Sanderson sisters to look at the Magicae Maxima spell until Winnie spelled the book to let them look at it. With this concept of having its own mind, it chooses to let Becca, Izzy and Cassie to become its new masters.  

The movie Hocus Pocus 2 shows a good amount of friendship and the reasons for being able to work together as a group and not keep power to one person’s self. The movie is a good show of friendship, magic and people learning to work as a team and care about each other once more.  

I give the movie Hocus Pocus 2 five out of five Lanterns.  


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