After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrected in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches' reign of terror once and for all.
I imagine most of the love for Hocus Pocus comes from people who re-watch it with nostalgia goggles. Even as a child of the 90's I had never seen Hocus Pocus and knew little of it, so I had no prior attachments to this film. If you have seen any of the Disney Channels terrible made for TV movies, Hocus Pocus is like a particularly bad one with some questionable language and sexual innuendo. The acting is really bad from the entire cast, which is a little surprising considering the witches (who I had always assumed you the heroes of the story, but are clearly not) are two D-List actresses (Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy) and a C-lister (Sarah Jessica Parker) who aren't exactly known for their acting abilities, but are actual professional actresses. The CG effects are bad, even considering this is a 1993 movie and the practical effects aren't even an honest effort. All of this could be forgiven if it was part of a fun, campy family movie, but Hocus Pocus can't even pull that off. The plot is lame and full of inconsistencies and just unreasonably unrealistic moments. The witches have been "dead" for 300 years, but will be brought back if a virgin lights the black flame candle. In 1990 a high school boy says multiple times publicly that he is a virgin. Let me just say that again, they think a high school boy would go around announcing himself to be a virgin repeatedly to his peers. This is a public high school in Massachusetts in the 90's, not a Mormon town or a private Catholic school. When the witches return, they have been gone for 300 years and don't even know what the paved road is, thinking it to be a river or what a bus is; they have no knowledge of any of the advances since the 1600's. Having established this, one of the witches flies up to the side of a car on their broom and asks him for his license and registration. So, they don't understand asphalt, but they know motorist jokes? The movie is littered with inconsistencies and a wild lack of understanding of how teenagers and children think and act. Even the three witches can't maintain a consistent character. Bette Midler is supposed to be the smart older sister, but she acts the most irrationally and whines like a child. Sarah Jessica Parker is a horny dumb blonde and Kathy Najimy is a mentally challenged woman who barks an talks out of the side of her mouth, but they are always the ones to reason and plan. Najimy is the worst, with her constantly swinging from offensively stupid the brains of the operation. This was an actual movie released in theaters. Had it been a cheap Disney Channel original, it would still be terrible, but excusable. As a real theatrical film, Hocus Pocus is embarrassing. Unless you grew up with this film, I can't imagine you getting much out of this. It's fairly unoffensive children's drivel, with some questionable language if that's all you need, but it's not a good film. It wasn't fun or interesting and it was probably best left in '93.
Good. 'Hocus Pocus' is a fairly amusing film about witches from the Salem trials era, not that it hasn't any real connection to those events. It's very much a fun fantasy film, which looks pretty neat by the way. Bette Midler (Winifred), Kathy Najimy (Mary) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah) play three witch sisters. They are main reason why the film is as enjoyable as it is, all are entertaining but Midler is definitely the pick of the bunch. The trio of younger actors in Omri Katz (Max), Thora Birch (Dani) and Vinessa Shaw (Allison) are OK, nothing special but passable. I didn't fully connect or like the plot itself, but it's one that suits everything else on screen well so it kinda works to be honest. All in all, for me, this is a solid, mid-range production from Disney.
Bad watch, probably won't watch again, and can't recommend. Sometimes it is fun to get in the way back machine to visit "classic" movies, but they don't always hold up. And in some cases, like this, it is a wonder they EVER worked at all. Especially that it is a 1993 Disney movie and focuses on sex, plus a lot of witch lore being based on women being sexual in a time where it was so inappropriate they would be burnt at the stake. I digress. While the Sanderson sisters are a compelling premise, if sloppy, and an interesting metaphor for the desires of power, hunger, and sex, it goes to an almost cartoonish levels of ridiculous for next to no reasoning. All the non witch cast do a fine job, and I especially liked Thora Birch's performance, I can see why she took off so well. As for the witch cast, I have no doubt they did was in the script very well, but the script is overly ridiculous, and even just trying to relax there are jokes that make no sense and just aren't all that funny. Ultimately it comes down to being a Halloween themed sub-par Babysitter's Club, or your choice of child adventure groups.