Hocus Pocus 2

image for Hocus Pocus 2

Short takes

Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 11 (scary scenes, themes and violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Hocus Pocus 2
  • a review of Hocus Pocus 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 October 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to scary scenes, themes and violence.
Children aged 9–11 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes, themes and violence.
Children over the age of 11 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Hocus Pocus 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Some scenes may scare young children
Length: 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Decades after the original film takes place, Becca (Whitney Peak) and her best friend, Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), go to their special spot in the woods outside of Salem to do a birthday ritual. Magic store owner and aspiring magician, Gilbert (Sam Richardson), has gifted Becca a candle which the girls light. Unbeknownst to them, it is a replica of the legendary ‘black flame candle’ and it too possesses the power to return the Sanderson sisters to life. With another shot at immortality, Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy) are determined not to be fooled or side-tracked and vow to do everything they can to avenge themselves on the people of Salem. The sisters plan to start with Becca and Izzy but soon notice that the Mayor of Salem (Tony Hale) is a direct descendant of their nemesis, a 16th century reverend, who tried to separate the sisters and force Winnie into an arranged marriage. When their plans to locate the Mayor go awry, the sisters give Gilbert the choice of procuring a list of random ingredients for a spell that will make them all-powerful, or suffering a terrible death. While Becca and Izzy do what they can to keep the Mayor safe, they soon learn that his daughter, Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), and their estranged friend is also in danger. When Cassie is abducted by the witches, Becca and Izzy pursue her back to the woods and, with the help of an unexpected ally, attempt to save Cassie, themselves and all of Salem from the ever-present threat of the Sanderson sisters.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Child/teenage abduction and the concept of sucking the life out of children; Witchcraft; Revenge.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • A character roughly shoves people out of the way, knocking things over and making them spill things.
  • Young Winnie smashes a plate on the floor.
  • Young Winnie sets a reverend’s house on fire.
  • Reference is made to the potion used to kill Emily Binx in 1693.
  • Sarah bemoans the fact that she won’t have as many children to lure to their demise.
  • Winnie stomps on Sarah’s foot.
  • Mary tells the girls to stay close, so close that she could eat them.
  • Winifred shoots lightening from her hands. She tries to attack Becca but her powers ricochet off the girl.
  • Winnie slaps her sisters and threatens Sarah.
  • Mary throws Izzy and Becca down the stairs into a dungeon from which there is no escape.
  • A flight of stairs collapses under Becca.
  • Winnie instructs others to dig up an old lover as his head is needed for a potion.
  • Winnie is about to kill a cat with her powers. She says, “Die, wretched feline!”, but is stopped just before she blasts the animal.
  • The Sanderson sisters set off on a quest, “for the mayor’s blood”.
  • Gilbert tells a zombie to stay back and not to eat his brains. He soon enlists the zombie’s help by lying and saying that he is doing a spell to kill Winifred forever.
  • Winnie grabs Sarah’s neck and squeezes it.
  • Becca crashes to the ground after struggling to restrain Winnie’s spell book.
  • Winnie throws a trophy at some judges before singing a song (“I’m gonna snatch ya, grab ya, trip ya, rip ya...”) which sends the audience into a trance and off to search for the Mayor on her behalf.
  • The witches blast the door to Cassie’s house down and threaten the girls inside. They move through the house with Mary, “smelling children”.
  • Winnie ties to blast the girls with her power.
  • Gilbert wrenches a zombie’s head off so the witches can use it for a spell.
  • Gilbert is told that the witches are still going to kill him.
  • Winnie stiches a zombie’s mouth shut.
  • Winnie cuts Cassie to get her blood and asks, “How would we torture her?”
  • Cassie is bound at the wrists and ankles and Gilbert is shoved away.
  • Becca and Izzy throw things at the witches while they all try to zap them with newfound power.
  • Sarah and Mary zap Winnie while testing their powers.
  • Winnie continually attacks Becca with her powers, blasting at her while Becca maintains an invisible shied.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A candle bursts into flame twice, it begins shaking as Becca and Izzy are screaming. A crack appears in the ground and grows bigger until it forms a large, glowing, devil’s pitchfork. The witches appear and make the statement, “Lock up your children...”. Sarah then jumps out directly in front of the girls who are running away, despite the fact that she had been dancing behind them just a moment before. The witches gather around Izzy and Becca, saying that it is time to brew up a potion and steal their souls and that if they see any teenagers they will kill them.
  • A zombie is brought back to life. His appearance may frighten young viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • When a young version of Winnie refuses to marry a man she doesn’t like, she is banished from Salem and her sisters are forcibly taken from her. Mary and Sarah are calling for Winnie, and Winnie is cleanly beginning to panic. As the townsfolk try to remove the sisters completely, they escape into a forbidden forest that is dark and menacing. There is a tense moment when the sisters are clearly scared by their surroundings. A witch then appears and tries to suck the life out of Winnie but is surprised by the difference between the Sanderson’s and other children. It is clear they are destined to be witches.
  • A screaming Cassie is abducted by the witches and carried off into the night.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Two Rumbas (which Mary refers to as her ‘Roomies’) are shown and used in numerous scenes.
  • An Alexa (a computerised personal assistant) terrifies the sisters at one point.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • There are multiple references to virginity: a virgin must light a black flame candle; Becca is a virgin having successfully lit one; Gilbert is not a virgin (a fact he openly alludes to); a small child asks, “What is a virgin?”; etc.
  • Winnie, Sarah and Mary walk into a drag queen competition based on the Sanderson sisters.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Mention is made of one of Sarah’s past lovers who Winnie also claims was her soul mate.
  • There is repeated mention of kissing, including a kiss in a graveyard.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Unbeknownst to her father, Cassie has a house party on Halloween. Then teens are drinking out of red cups, the contents are unclear.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Damn
  • Nitwit
  • Jerk
  • Fool
  • Simpleton
  • Dunderhead
  • Withering hag
  • Pest
  • Wretched troll
  • Dolt
  • Heck
  • Lout
  • Satan
  • Shut up
  • Directionless skeleton sack
  • A character says she took the Lord’s name in vain twice.

In a nutshell

Hocus Pocus 2 is the long awaited sequel to Disney’s original, Hocus Pocus. Featuring some of the original cast and a number of new additions, the film shines a light on the earlier years of the Sandersons and shows the depths of sisterly devotion. Hocus Pocus 2 will be best enjoyed by tweens, teens and fans of the original film.

The main messages from this movie are that there is strength in standing together; that women (and girls) become stronger when they are united; and that power is meant to be shared.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Loyalty
  • Love
  • Courage
  • Sacrifice.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The dangers of lighting candles in the woods.
  • Beliefs around witchcraft and the history of what happened in Salem so long ago.
  • Not being honest with parents or seeking their support when in danger.
  • Having parties without permission.