Hocus Pocus (1993) Review

Hocus Pocus is a Disney Channel Original Movie which was directed by Kenny Ortega and was based on a story from David Kirschner and Mick Garris.

The film follows the resurrection of the child devouring witches the Sanderson Sisters and the work of a teenage boy, a love interest and his little sister to stop them.

Upon its release the film was not a commercial success and left Disney at a serious loss, it wasn’t recieved well by critics at the time although it has garnered a cult following in more recent times.

The film opens in Salem 1693 to a young boy named Zachary Binx who fails to rescue his sister from the witches and is cruelly punished to become immortal in the form of a black cat.

The witches are hung for years of crimes, unaware the towns folk do not realise that the sisters cast a curse that will resurrect them if a black flame candle is lit by a virgin on All Hallows Eve.

In the year 1993 Teenager Max Dennison lights the black flame candle and resurrects the witches putting the entire town in serious danger, in the film he is joined with two more heroes his sister Danni and love interest Allison.

The heroes are very well casted and its difficult to find any faults with their acting, my favourite out of the three was Thora Birch who played younger sister Danni Dennison, I often dislike child actors but she was very good and in my opinion the best character in the film. I liked her tough attitude and quick thinking in many areas of the movie.

The Sanderson Sisters (From Left to Right) KATHY NAJIMY, BETTE MIDLER, SARAH JESSICA PARKER

For most people the best part of the film may be Sanderson Sisters themselves but I’m going to be honest and admit that I really dislike them and It’s not because of their villainous nature. I found them extremely annoying the performances were very over the top which I think was the idea but as an adult with no nostalgia for the film all of the screaming and high energy performances were a little too much for me to find enjoyable.

The special effects are very impressive for a TV movie and are phenomenal for such a small budget, the best work is the life like effects of the Black Cat also known as Zachary Binx, there is a particularly memorable scene where he is run over and resurrected due to his immortality.

There are many memorable musical numbers in the film and I really liked all of them, “I put a spell on you” is the most well known but “Sarah’s Song” a melody used to lure unsuspecting children towards the witches was my favourite as I enjoyed It’s more calming ritualistic melody compared to the high energy of the other music.

I would be lying if I said that Hocus Pocus was one of my favourite child friendly Halloween Flicks but I can appreciate it for what it is, a simplistic tale of resurrected witches who are stopped by teenage virgins and a talking cat, it has a easy to understand premise, great music and excellent visual effects, I just found it a little bit annoying which is far less of a crime compared to some other films I have had to review for this website.

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