After 29 years, Disney’s beloved Halloween classic has finally gotten its sequel—and it was filmed right here in Providence. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker reprised their iconic roles as Sarah, Mary, and Winifred Sanderson and give a performance just as amazing as they did in 1993.
While Hocus Pocus 2 is different from its original in many ways, it stays true to the famous moments fans have come to love from the original. The movie follows three teenage girls trying to defeat the witches after they come back to wreak havoc on Salem. Not only have the three leads returned, but some other classic characters like Billy Butcherson have as well. And if you loved the Sanderson Sisters’ rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” from the first movie, you will be glad to know that there is another amazing musical number in the sequel.
Even though the movie is set in Salem, MA, it was filmed right here in Rhode Island. Chase Farm in Lincoln was home to not only the witches’ original house, but an entire colonial village. Here, we see the witches in 1653 as teenagers and learn the story of how they were banished from Salem and became witches.
Providence College students might recognize some of the locations used for filming. The high school scenes took place at La Salle Academy and the witches explore a local Walgreens at the beginning of the movie.
As the first Hocus Pocus has become arguably one of the most well-known Halloween movies since its release, Hocus Pocus 2 had a lot to live up to. The original is known for its incredible soundtrack, timeless humor, and iconic lines that are quoted constantly throughout the season. The witches and their schemes provided a humorous aspect, while the relationships between the other main characters gave the movie more of an emotional side.
In the sequel, the viewers get a glimpse of the sisterly relationship between Sarah, Mary, and Winifred, which doesn’t take away from their hilarious antics, but rather provides the characters with much more dimension. In many ways, the heart-warming sibling relationships between Max and Dani as well as Emily and Binx in the first movie are paralleled by the witches 30 years later.
While Hocus Pocus 2 did meet (and even exceed) expectations in terms of choreography, music, and costumes, it is difficult to measure up to such an influential original. Viewers should think of it truly as a sequel—a continuation of the witches’ stories and mission—rather than a new movie to replace the first. Additionally, the movie hinted at a third return of the witches in the future, implying that the three witches might not be finished tormenting Salem.
For Hocus Pocus lovers, the sequel will be a great addition to a Halloween movie lineup. The music, magic, and mischief of the Sanderson sisters are sure to put you in the mood for autumn.