An Unfiltered Review of "Hocus Pocus" — From Someone Who Watched It For the Very First Time
I hope this is a judgment-free zone because, no, in all my 25 years of living, I have not watched "Hocus Pocus" — that is, until now. In my defense, I was born four years after the spooky classic debuted in 1993. Plus, I'm not an avid cable viewer, so I never tuned in to watch it during its many showings on TV. But I'm proud to say I've finally joined the "Hocus Pocus" bandwagon and understand why it's such a beloved Halloween film.
"Hocus Pocus" follows the comical Halloween misadventures of Max (Omri Katz), Dani (Thora Birch), and Allison (Vinessa Shaw) after they summon the Sanderson sisters (played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) — the trio of wild witches from 17th-century Salem on a mission to reclaim their youth by feeding on the town's children, which sounds a lot scarier than it actually is.
Despite "Hocus Pocus"'s 33 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and initial flop at the box office (it grossed less than $45 million on a $28 million budget, per The Wrap), the movie is still considered a bona fide cult classic. Now, I still haven't seen "Hocus Pocus 2" yet — which premiered on Sept. 30 — but my curiosity made me go back and finally watch the original film to see what I've been missing out on all these years.
If you're feeling nostalgic this Halloween and want to know what a first-time viewer thinks of "Hocus Pocus," read ahead for all my unfiltered thoughts.
- Kenny Ortega made this? Oh, I'm in for a treat.
- Crazy that my first introduction to SJP as a kid was "Sex and the City" and not this movie. (Don't ask why.)
- Why is it that in movies, when people spot a mysterious thing in the distance they run towards it? I would've acted like I never saw that pink smoke.
- Running barefoot through the woods is one of my biggest fears.
- Why is she walking into this strange house alone? Where are her parents?!
- The iconic Sanderson sisters have arrived.
- Winifred's nails are giving.
- The fact that he's breaking into their house barefoot really bothers me.
- Does he really think they can't see him??
- I know it smells crazy in there.
- OK, youth potion — that might've did something for them.
- For a family movie, a public witch hanging seems a little much.
- I wish my teachers told Halloween stories in class like this when I was in grade school.
- We love a good holiday conspiracy theory.
- Again, what is this obsession with traveling through the woods? To a cemetery, no less.
- Nothing says bold like spelling your name out in a haircut.
- Dani's costume is a Halloween mood.
- These bullies look a little old to be in high school.
- Now, what kind of Halloween party is this?
- I'm all for scary stuff, but visiting a house that belongs to a group of dead witches is where I draw the line.
- He said the movie title! *cue the Leonardo DiCaprio meme*
- Now why would he light that candle?
- Oh, there goes the virgin joke.
- Wow, the girls still look good after all those years — I know that's right.
- Now would be a great time for Max to come save his sister . . .
- I'm no witch expert, but do they not like water? Is that part of the witch rules?
- Oh, this talking cat is some freaky looking CGI.
- Did she just eat a spider?
- They said the title again!
- I love how they're staying true to the witch folklore: flying on brooms, casting spells, having an evil agenda — they understood the assignment.
- OK, seriously, what's up with this virgin joke?
- Finally, a real Halloween party.
- Listen to your kids, people.
- They sing and dance, too? I think I get the Sanderson sisters hype now.
- That was a cute little number.
- Now they set them on fire.
- The Sanderson sisters: "It never gave dead."
- Talk about shining the bat symbol. This is why their parents should be home.
- Poor Binx. He's been through enough.
- Never underestimate what a little salt can do.
- This vacuum cleaner is killing me.
- Aww, this is a sweet brother–sister reunion.
- I love how the parents have been absent for 90 percent of this movie.
- OK, I get the need for the sequel. Let me add that to my watch list.