Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Hocus Pocus

Although both a critical and commercial failure during its initial release in the summer of 1993, Hocus Focus has earned a cult status on home video eventually spawning a 25th Anniversary Special in 2018 and a new sequel released on Disney+ in 2022. The goofy family-friendly Halloween tale features Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy hamming it up as sister witches accidentally resurrected one-hundred years later by a teen (Omri Katz) who didn't believe in magic.

For only having a 96-minute runtime, the script by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert attempts to not only give us the supernatural tale but also burgeoning teen romance between Max (Katz) and Alison (Vinessa Shaw), play on the brother and sister dynamic between Max and Dani (Thora Birch), and explore, but never really develop, subplots about being the new kid in a new town and bullying. We also get NCIS' Sean Murray as a ghost and voicing a cat for much of the film.

The film has been released multiple times on home video over the years along with its availability on various streaming services and its numerous broadcasts every year on ABC, the Disney Channel, and Freeform. Hocus Pocus features paper-thin characters, cheap special effects, constant overacting by the witches, and a simple plot that still manages to get convoluted and loose itself more than once. Finding a place on home video and the Disney Channel (where it's flaws are going to be much easier to ignore), there's certainly a cheesy factor to the film that has helped it endure and grow a fan base over the years, although I doubt anyone suspected it will still be celebrated by fans three decades later.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Hocus Pocus
  • IMDb: link

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