By Nicole Lyn Pesce
Something wicked this way comes.
The long-awaited sequel to the cult Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus” (which actually bombed by snagging less than $40 million at the domestic box office in 1993) hits Disney+ on Friday, and the movie starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy mugging as the three witchy Sanderson sisters was largely charming reviewers and trending across social media heading into the weekend.
“Hocus Pocus 2” is streaming exclusively on Disney+ — as is the original “Hocus Pocus” — which costs $7.99 a month. Alas, Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.01% does not offer a free trial for new subscribers. But Verizon /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ +0.26% subscribers may be able to get it for free with the provider’s “Disney+ on us” promotion on select unlimited data plans.
There is also a Disney+ bundle running, which can hook you up to Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month.
So what can you expect?
The reboot delves into the origin story of these Salem sisters and how they got the spell book that led to the Halloween hijinx in the first film.
“Hocus Pocus 2” had a 63% “Fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review site as this story was published. And the general consensus among movie critics was that the Halloween reboot plays some familiar tricks, but still offers plenty of treats for fans of the original.
“Still spelling trouble,” writes the New York Times critic Claire Shaffer. “It manages to capture the same hokey magic of the original while creatively updating its humor.”
“Cheeky, nostalgic, and practically magic,” raves Mashable.
And once again, the three campy women at the center of the story flew away with the movie. “It’s the witches’ world; everything else is just scenery to get these three back on broomsticks together,” writes IndieWire.
But there were some who didn’t fall under the Sanderson sisters’ spell this time around, including the Guardian, which called it “far from bewitching.”
“At times it feels more like an extended, if joke-free, SNL skit than a real movie,” the Guardian’s Benjamin Lee writes.9
And IGN was among the review sites noting that the ugly greenscreen work breaks the spell at times, writing that the movie’s biggest issue is that it wasn’t filmed in Salem. “It’s wonderfully nostalgic that Hocus Pocus 2 feels like the Disney Channel Original Movies of yore, but the fact that it looks like one in 2022 is pretty rough.”
But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm on Twitter, where the movie was trending on Friday with more than 17.3K tweets.
Here’s what else is streaming in October.