After nearly thirty years, the long awaited sequel to Hocus Pocus premiered on September 30 as a Disney+ exclusive film. Directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Jen D’Angelo, Hocus Pocus 2 follows a new generation of witches who accidentally summon the Sanderson sisters on Halloween.
The movie takes us to 1653 Salem, Massachusetts. We’re introduced to a younger, furious Winfried Sanderson (Taylor Henderson). Why is Winnie so angry? She informs her younger sisters Mary (Nina Kitchen) and Sarah (Juju Brener) that the Church wants her to marry John Pritchett (Thomas Fitzgerald). And this will not do because she’d rather marry Billy Butcherson (Austin J. Ryan) instead.
Reverend Traske (Tony Hale) banishes Winfried from Salem for defying the Church’s authority. When he attempts to take away her sisters, the Sandersons escape into the Forbidden Wood. They’re introduced to the mysterious Mother Witch (Hannah Waddingham), who was about to kill Sarah until she senses the sisters are attuned to magic. She gifts Winnie the Book of Spells for her sixteenth birthday, but there’s one catch. None of the sisters are allowed to cast the Magicae Maxima spell, which makes the user all-powerful. Instead, the sisters decide to use their newfound magic to get revenge against the Reverend by setting his on fire.
Flashforward to Halloween 2022, where Becca (Whitney Peak) is preparing for her sixteenth birthday. She’s going to perform an annual birthday ritual with her best friend Izzy (Belissa Escobedo). Unfortunately, things have been tense between Becca and her other friend, Cassie (Lilia Buckingham). It doesn’t help that Cassie is dating Mike (Froy Gutierrez) — who mocks Becca for her interest in witchcraft. He invites her to a party at Cassie’s house, which Becca declines. At least she has Izzy, and the two head off to the Olde Salem Magic Shoppe after school.
They arrive as the shop’s owner Gilbert (Sam Richardson) does a special performance for his customers. He tells the story of the Sanderson sisters and how they can return if a virgin lights the Black Flame candle in the woods, which leads to this probing question:
“What’s a virgin?” asks a little boy.
“Uh, that is a… a person who has never…,” Gilbert stammers. “Lit a candle”.
Later on, Gilbert gifts Becca a special candle for her birthday along with some Angelica leaves, which can lift curses. The girls go to the woods, light the candle, and perform their annual manifestation ritual. When they’re done, the candle won’t go out. Lightning flashes across the sky, cracks form in the ground. Becca and Izzy begin to realize the candle Gilbert gave them is actually the Black Flame candle. Since they’re both virgins and there’s a full moon, they’ve resurrected the Sanderson sisters.
Guess Who’s Back!
Alive once again, Winfried (Bette Midler) reminds her sisters Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) of their main goal: find Book, brew the life potion, steal Becca and Izzy’s souls, so they can live past sunrise. Becca and Izzy trick the sisters into thinking they’re in their forties and takes them to Walgreens. The sisters begin to eat all the lotions and face masks in aisle 4, thinking they contain the souls of children. Once the Sanderson sisters realize they’ve been tricked, Winfried tries to kill the girls. But her powers fail to break Becca’s protective salt circle.
Becca and Izzy go back to the magic shop, where Gilbert admits he tricked them into reviving the sisters. The sisters arrive at the shop — which is actually their old cottage. They lock Becca and Izzy in the basement with a curse that prevents them from leaving. Fanboying, Gilbert reveals he saw the sisters on Halloween back in 1993 and followed them to the graveyard, where he saw them disappear. He found Book, who showed him how to make another Black Flame candle. The sisters find a campaign flyer for Mayor Traske (Tony Hale in a dual role), Reverend Traske’s descendant and Cassie’s father. Learning the Traske line is still around infuriates Winfried. She decides they will cast Magicae Maxima, the Power spell, to take revenge against Salem and the Traske family. The sisters leave to track down Mayor Traske, whose blood is needed for the spell. Before they go, Winfried casts a hex on Gilbert that will kill him if he doesn’t collect the other needed ingredients.
Escaping the basement, the girls go to Traske’s house to warn the mayor about the Sanderson sisters. Gilbert digs up the grave of Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones), since the Power spell calls for the head of a lover. Turns out, Billy and Winfried were never lovers — they only shared one kiss. Gilbert tricks Billy into thinking he’s trying to kill Winnie to get his help. Eventually, Billy sees through Gilbert’s act, but that doesn’t save him from losing his head.
Meanwhile, the Sanderson sisters stumble upon Salem’s Halloween festival and find themselves participating in a Sanderson sisters look-alike contest. Twenty-nine years after they were first resurrected, the Sanderson sisters have become local legends in Salem. They lose the contest to drag queens (Ginger Minj, Kornbread Jeté, Kahmora Hall) but that doesn’t stop Winfried from taking over the stage. Infusing their magic with their singing, the sisters’ performance enchants the town’s citizens into searching for the mayor. When that plan fails, the sisters bewitch another person to lead them to the mayor — Cassie’s boyfriend Mike.
Becca and Izzy finally reach Cassie’s house, but the sisters arrive before they get a chance to explain. The trio manages to trap the sisters in a salt circle in Traske’s garage. Becca confronts Mike for making fun of her and Izzy, which Mike didn’t realize he was doing. “I’ve got so many people to apologize to,” a distraught Mike says. Mayor Traske returns home from the carnival, where he mistakes the Sanderson sisters for actors. It seems like all is lost until the Roombas Mary uses to fly find her and sweep up the salt, allowing the sisters to escape. Becca, Izzy, and Cassie reconcile right when the sisters grab Cassie to use her blood instead.
The Final Showdown
Becca and Izzy follow the Sanderson sisters to the Forbidden Wood, where Gilbert assembled all the ingredients. After they send Gilbert flying through the air, the sisters cast the spell, their powers growing each time they recite the incantation. As she’s watching the sisters, Izzy notices Becca’s hand is glowing and realizes Becca is a witch. Becca uses her magic to fight the sisters while Izzy frees Cassie. Unfortunately, Becca’s powers are no match for the sisters.
“You don’t want to do this spell,” Becca says. “I know it may not feel like it, but you have a choice”.
“And what choice would that be?” Winfried asks.
“I’m talking to the book,” Becca says.
Book picks Becca over Winnie and the girls run deeper into the forest. Book shows Becca the warning about the Magicae Maxima spell — whoever casts the spell must sacrifice what they value most in return. The girls race to warn the Sanderson sisters, but they’re too late. Since Sarah and Mary are the only ones Winfried cares about, they start to fade away. Devastated over what she’s done, Winfried pleads with Becca to undo the spell. Becca, Izzy, and Cassie cast a reunion spell, which takes Winifried to where Mary and Sarah are now. As she turns to dust, Winnie thanks the girls for their help, and her essence merges with her sisters’ before disappearing.
Gilbert arrives with Billy’s body, who has its own little reunion with Billy’s head. Billy begins to disappear as well, since Winfried’s death undoes all of her spells. Gilbert apologizes to the girls for all he’s done and offers them ten percent discounts. As the girls leave the woods, a bird looking identical to the form Mother Witch shape-shifted to flies overhead.
Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.