Hocus Pocus (1993)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy

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Hocus Pocus (1993) Poster

A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.


6.9/10
98,619

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26 October 2017 | jaredpahl
7
| Hocus Pocus' Cute Energy And Halloween Spirit Make It A Sweet, If Familiar Treat.
In the years since its release in 1993, thanks to annual showings on television, Hocus Pocus has become something of a Halloween classic. I didn't grow up with the movie, and I don't think it is an especially well-crafted work, so I can't necessarily vouch for Hocus Pocus' "classic" status, but what I can vouch for is the movie's wholesome family spirit. This is a lovable little movie, the kind that renders any faults moot by the sheer charm of the production. I guess it's not a very good film, but its black magic worked on me.

I'll keep the summary short. Three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts and they wreak havoc on Halloween night. A small band of kids try to stop them. That's really all the plot you need to know. What's important to consider is that the movie takes place on Halloween, and it makes the most of that setting. I've always had a soft spot for Halloween and Halloween-related accoutrement: Monsters, ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, and the like. So Hocus Pocus appeals to me on the basis of simply being about the holiday, and relishing in the spirit of Halloween. It is also one of the few Halloween movies to capture that specific "spooky, but not scary" feeling Halloween night had as a kid. For someone who has long outgrown trick-or-treating, it's an inviting bit of nostalgia.

Let's talk about the cast. Has there ever been a more likable bunch of actresses than the three witches here? Midler, Parker, and Najimy show no pretenses. They are just out there goofing around and having fun. Their performances aren't anything special, of course, but you can't tell me they didn't add more than their share of cute energy to the proceedings. Speaking of cute energy, I have to give a special shoutout to Thora Birch as the young sister, who gushes with charm. She's the heart of the movie, she's got screen presence, and she's a good little actress.

Not everyone will see Hocus Pocus the way I do. I have a pesky habit of rooting for movies because they are silly and innocent, rather than in spite of. Others find that sort of thing unbearable. In this case, Hocus Pocus has two things that distract me from its formulaic, kids- save-the-day plot: A lovable cast, and Halloween spirit. As dumb as it is, I still get the urge to revisit it every October. You could say I fell under its spell.

66/100

Critic Reviews



Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,125,471 18 July 1993

Gross USA:

$43,886,713

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,090,052

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