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Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kath Najimy play the Sanderson sisters in "Hocus Pocus 2." Photo courtesy of IMDb.

REVIEW: ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ will make you witch for a better movie

As you make your way through October, you may find yourself seeking out movies and Halloween specials from your favorite TV shows to get you in the mood for spooky season. An all-time favorite of Halloween lovers is the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” While for many years this film has been a Halloween staple with a conclusive and relatively satisfying ending, it, like many other classic films, has fallen victim to the dreaded sequel.

On Sept. 30, “Hocus Pocus 2” was released on Disney+, and many fans flocked to the streaming service to see the Sanderson sisters resurrected once again. Unfortunately, the film does not live up to its predecessor, and it’s difficult to imagine it becoming nearly as popular.

Similarly to the original, the plot centers around teenagers who accidentally bring Sanderson sisters back to life and spend the rest of Halloween trying to get rid of them. However, the overall tone of the film is one of the primary things that differentiates the sequel from its 1993 counterpart.

In the original, the humor adds a necessary layer to an otherwise frightening storyline, making the film appealing to adults and children alike. Unfortunately, part of this balance is lost in the sequel, as the majority of the film attempts to be funny in an almost immature way, making it appeal almost exclusively to children.

Although the writing itself is lackluster and reads like a new age Disney Channel original movie, the most redeeming quality of the film is the acting done by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. In spite of the film’s shortcomings, the three actresses bring life to the characters they inhabited nearly thirty years ago and allow the audience to become invested in their story all over again.

In addition to the portrayal done by the three actresses, 19-year-old Whitney Peak also brought a much needed sense of skill and direction to film through the character Becca, the story’s protagonist.

While the intent of the sequel may have been to introduce a new generation to the Halloween classic that many continue to adore, its poor execution might leave the audience with a more cynical take. Rather than an honest attempt at a worthwhile sequel, the lack of charm and wit in “Hocus Pocus 2” seems to instead indicate an opportunity for the filmmakers to make money off a beloved movie.

For these reasons, if you’re looking for a new Halloween film to fall in love with this season, “Hocus Pocus 2” will likely not be a serious contender.

Sierra Martinez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com

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