REVIEW: ‘Hocus Pocus’ is a Halloween classic everyone should watch


As Halloween fast approaches, one movie that should be on everyone’s Halloween watch list is “Hocus Pocus.”

Disney’s 1993 fantasy film takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night and follows Max Dennison, his younger sister Dani and his love interest Alison.

After learning of the tale of the Sanderson sisters — three evil witches that feed on children — Max invites Alison along to the Sanderson Cottage Museum and claims the story is just “hocus pocus.”

In an attempt to impress Alison, Max lights the black flame candle that is said to resurrect the witches, and to his surprise, they arise.

After the sisters wake up, the three kids frantically look for ways to stop the witches from killing them and the other children before dusk.

They try to outrun the witches all night, but Max is caught. However, as they are about to suck the last of his life out of him, the sun rises and they incinerate.

In the end, Max gets the girl and the kids ultimately outsmart the Sanderson sisters.

While the movie is slightly cheesy, it is undeniably entertaining. The storyline is cute, but the character development is what really makes this movie worth watching.

In the beginning, Max plays the role of the angsty older brother that wants nothing to do with his younger sister and is “too cool for school.”

He puts up a tough exterior and acts like he doesn’t care about anything, but Alison changes him. During his attempts to garner her affection, he progressively shifts from the selfish boy to the brave, protective young man he is in the end.

Despite it being a scary movie, it is surprisingly endearing and watching it as an adult, it is cute as opposed to creepy.

Aside from the heartfelt aspect of the movie, it has some humor as well as a strong sense of nostalgia.

The movie did not do well when it was originally released but is now considered one of the more favored Halloween movies. The beauty of the film is that it is somewhat dark and has jokes in it that would not be acceptable for children under today’s Disney standards.

Another pleasantly surprising aspect of the movie is the feminist undertones the Sanderson sisters serve. They not only manage to save themselves from death for hundreds of years, but they do not take crap from anyone.

They seem clueless given that they are thrown into a completely new era than what they knew when they were put to rest but they still hold their own.

Do not let the low ratings turn you away from this movie because it is worth watching at least once.

The movie is available on Disney+ and on DVD.

Madison Daniel is the Collegian assistant culture editor and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to

Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.