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MOVIE REVIEW: HOCUS POCUS

by Dawn, August 18, 2010

Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz

Rated: PG

Directed by: Kenny Ortega

Warning! Warning!: Couple of spoilers told! Just couldn’t help myself hehe.

Review: 17th century Salem is the back drop for the Hocus Pocus. Sarah Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker) is sent to bewitch a child in order for her along with her sisters to suck the child’s soul and regain their youth. The main goal of the witches is to the suck the souls of all the children in Salem in order to gain immortality. The brother, Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) sets out to rescue his little sister, Emily. He manages to sneak into the Sanderson’s home but is found out by the witches and is unable to rescue his sister. As punishment for sneaking into their home and attempting to foil their plans, the witches place Thackery under a curse, he is turned into a cat and will have immortality.

The father of the children along with the towns folk come demanding answers from the Sanderson sisters and in finding the girl, Emily, already dead they decide to hang the sisters. Emily and Thackery’s father pleas one last time with the eldest of the sisters, Winifred (Bette Midler), to tell him what has happened with his son. Winifred refuses and begins to chant along with her sisters. The witches speak a curse upon Salem, one Halloween night a virgin will come and light the dark flame candle, the witches will then return and continue their quest to drain all the children of their souls.

We are then moved into present time, where a teacher is narrating and telling the story of the Sanderson sisters to her English class. It’s the day of Halloween and we are introduced to Max Dennison (Omri Katz) who has just moved from California to Salem with his family. Max gets roped into taking his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) trick O’ treating since his parents have an event to attend. Max and Dani end up at the home of Allison (Vinessa Shaw), both one of Max’s classmates and the girl he’s hopelessly in love with. Allison tells them of the old cottage of the Sanderson sisters which was turned into a museum but shut down because to many “unexplainable things” were taking place there. Since Max refuses to believe in the Sanderson sisters tale he convinces Allison to take him there. To prove that the story is nothing more than a simple scary story told every Halloween, Max chooses to light the dark flame candle and the adventure begins!

This movie may sound like it’s too scary for children under the age of teenage hood to watch but it’s actually set up for children of all ages to enjoy, it’s a movie catered toward families. I am guilty of watching this movie at least once a year during Halloween and pleasantly enjoying it every time!

Bette Midler as the evil Winifred is both ruthless and humorous. She delivers as she always does.  Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays ironically enough, a character named Sarah and Kathy Najimy, who plays Mary Sanderson, play their roles of the silly and useless little sisters quite well. Constantly messing up Winifred’s plans and confusing not just her but each other. They’re absolutely fun to watch and will have you bubbling with laughter.

Bette Midler steals the show in a performance (“I Put a Spell on You”) she gives at the Halloween party designed for parents she crashes along with her sisters. One of the funniest moments is when Mary (Kathy Najimy) cannot find a broom to go flying away into battle with her sisters and uses a Hoover vacuum.

Between a talking cat (Thackery) who has guarded the old cottage of the Sanderson sister’s for centuries to keep all virgins away and the raising of Winifred’s old lover from the grave to help her in her quest to capture Max, Dani, and Allison because they end up stealing her dark book, the movie propels forward with outlandish antics, heartfelt moments, and light humor.

This may be yet another family movie but trust me, this is one family movie you won’t mind watching over and over again!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Running Time: 96 minutes

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